Uralkali Vows to Assist Investigation Against CEO

MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russian fertilizer giant Uralkali on Thursday vowed to assist an investigation into its chief executive, Vladislav Baumgertner.

Board chairman Alexander Voloshin said that “the board of directors and all employees … are ready to render all necessary assistance to investigators,” but that the management would take all actions necessary to protect the interests of Uralkali and its shareholders.

“At the same time, the company possesses no information that could change the investigators’ position toward Baumgertner,” Voloshin said.

The CEO was detained in Minsk in August after the potash fertilizer producer unexpectedly withdrew from a cooperation agreement with its Belarusian counterpart, causing a steep drop in prices and sparking a political dispute.

Baumgertner was charged with abuse of office in mid-October, and a Moscow court has issued a warrant for his arrest. Russia requested his extradition from Belarus earlier this month.

Some observers have suggested that the Russian investigation could be a way of getting Baumgertner back home before dropping the charges against him.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko earlier said the CEO could be extradited to Russia, provided that he face criminal charges and that financial damages be covered.

Uralkali has claimed that Belarus’ allegations against Baumgertner are politically motivated.

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