22 January 2018, Monday, 21:23

Uralkali condemns allegations against Baumgertner as politically motivated

All allegations against Director General Vladislav Baumgertner are absolutely unfounded and politically motivated, the Board of Directors of Russia's potash company says in a statement.

The Board expresses its "full support" Mr. Baumgertner and describes his arrest as illegal.

Ualkali is one of the most efficient potash producers in the world that is managed by a strong team of professionals, the statement says, adding that the company continues to fulfill its obligations to its customers.

Mr. Baumgertner was arrested on August 26 as he was about to fly out of Minsk after a meeting with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich.

Pavel Travulka, spokesman for the Investigative Committee of Belarus, told BelaPAN after the arrest that Mr. Baumgertner, who chaired the supervisory board of Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), was suspected of power abuse and so were four other Russian executives who combined their duties in BPC and Uralkali. They include Oleg Petrov, a member of the BPC's supervisory board; Konstantin Solodovnikov, first deputy director general; Igor Yevstratov, deputy director general; Dmitry Samoilov, head of the freight department, and "other people."

A few days later, Belarusian authorities instituted criminal proceedings against Russian billionaire and Uralkali's top shareholder Suleiman Kerimov.

The case is linked to Uralkali's July 30 decision to de facto quit BPC, its joint trading arm with Belarusian potash giant Belaruskali. Minsk claims that the collapse of the Belarusian-Russian potash sales cartel has caused severe economic damage to Belarus.