Topic: Uralkali Case
MINSK, September 13 (RAPSI) – A court in the Belarusian capital Minsk upheld Tuesday the detention of Vladislav Baumgertner, chief executive of Uralkali, the world's largest potash producer, his lawyer said Friday.
The court rejected an appeal filed by Baumgertner's lawyers for his release.
“We plan to appeal the decision as soon as possible,” his lawyer Dmitry Goryachko said.
Baumgertner was detained in Minsk on August 26 and charged with abuse of power, according to the Belarusian Investigative Committee. According to the Belarusian authorities, the case against him was launched as the result of a probe into offences that allegedly led to grave damage to the public interests of Belarus, and damage to the Belarusian Potash company.
In July, Uralkali dissolved an international cartel with the Belarusian potash giant, blaming Minsk for selling some of its produce outside their agreement, that Baumgertner said “destroyed the fundamentals of our prolonged fruitful cooperation.”
The scrapping of the cartel sent shares in fertilizer producers tumbling worldwide and has precipitated a steady fall in fertilizer prices as consumers and traders anticipate increased market competition.
Potash makes up around 8 percent of Belarus' exports and Belaruskali is one of its largest industrial enterprises. A major fall in potash prices would therefore deal a severe blow to Minsk, which has suffered from major falls in the Belarusian ruble in recent years.
Uralkali has long coveted Belaruskali and was in negotiations last year to buy a stake in the company, but talks fell apart after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he would not sell a controlling stake in the state-owned firm.
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