18 January 2019, Friday, 9:45
Thanks, everyone

Minsk not going to extradite Baumgertner to Russia


The Belarusian Investigation Committee doubts that Russia opened a criminal case against the businessman.

The main problem over the Uralkali criminal case, namely the extradition of company CEO Vladislav Baumgertner and prospects for a further investigation of the case by Russian investigators, still keeps everyone in suspense, Izvestia (Russia) writes.

The Belarusian Investigation Committee says the issue of the extradition of the Russian top manager is not being discussed as instigators don't have confirmation that a criminal case was really opened against Vladislav Baumgertner in Russia. The Belarusian Prosecutor General's Office also says they don't take any actions to extradite the businessman to Russia.

On Monday October 14, the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case under part 2 of article 201 of the Criminal Code of Russia (abuse of power) against chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) and Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner and former deputy head of the Belarusian Potash Company Konstantin Solodovnikov based on the materials of their Belarusian colleagues. According to investigators, they “abused their powers by using them against the lawful interests of these companies and with the aim of making profit and for the benefit of other persons that caused substantial damage and major consequences for the Belarusian Potash Company and Belaruskali”.

The Belarusian version of the Uralkali criminal case contains charges against the company's biggest shareholder, Suleiman Kerimov, but the Russian Investigative Committee says his name is not mentioned in the documents sent from Belarus.

Investigators are preparing documents to the Russian Prosecutor General's Office to organise the extradition of Baumgertner from Belarus, where he was arrested in summer 2013 in connection with the criminal case opened under a similar article of the Belarusian Criminal Code. He was later placed under house arrest in a Minsk flat rented by the KGB. The extradition department of the general department of international legal cooperation at the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia will deal with the extradition procedures.

Baumgertner's lawyers actively cooperate with Russian law-enforcement bodies.

“To the extent we can we help investigators with the extradition documents,” lawyer Yuly Tai says. “Everyone is interested in Vladislav Baumgertner's soonest return to Russia.”

It turned out, however, that Belarusian investigators have a different opinion. Pavel Traulka, an official representative of the Belarusian Investigation Committee, said it was too early to speak about the extradition of Baumgertner.

“We haven't reached an agreement yet that Russia will investigate Baumgertner's case,” Pavel Traulka said. “You are hurrying with the case of Baumgertner. It still remains in the Republic of Belarus.”