Uralkali CEO Faces Abuse Charges in Russia

MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators have filed abuse of office charges against the CEO of Russian fertilizer giant Uralkali, the Investigative Committee said Monday.

Charges were also brought against the head of Belarusian fertilizer giant Belaruskali, the Investigative Committee spokesman said.

The two executives stand accused of abusing their powers, “using them against the legitimate interests of those organizations, for the purpose of deriving benefits and advantages for other persons,” causing Belaruskali substantial damage, the spokesman said.

Markin also said that the Russian authorities are preparing to submit documents for Baumgertner’s extradition from Belarus.

On Friday Oct. 11, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that Baumgertner would be charged with embezzlement, which in Belarus carries a maximum penalty of 12 years behind bars, rather than abuse of office, which is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

Baumgertner, a Russian citizen, was detained in the Belarusian capital Minsk in August and taken into custody. In September, he was released from prison and placed under house arrest.

The charges followed a July decision by Uralkali, a leading producer of potash fertilizer, to dissolve its international cartel with Belaruskali, sending potash prices spiraling down.

Lukashenko said on Oct. 11, that Russia and Belarus should restore the cartel and that he had requested his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s help on the issue. The Kremlin did not comment on Lukashenko’s statement.

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