20 January 2018, Saturday, 12:20

Belarusian lawyers of Baumgertner asked to say nothing


No information about Uralkali CEO is available.

Russian prosecutors defend Valdislav Baumgertner: Russian prosecutor general Yuri Chaika flied to Minsk yesterday. No details of the talks are known, but Vladimir Putin and Aliaksandr Lukashenka met a day before at the CSTO summit for the first time since the conflict evoked. The former head of the Russian company has been in the KGB detention facility in Minsk for almost a month. This jail is usually used for VIP prisoners and Lukashenka's political enemies, Dozhd TV channel reports.

Though Chaika's flight to Minsk ended in nothing, at least it wasn't followed by the release, sources close to the company say the problem may be solved in the near future, probably this week. Sudden silence of lawyers can be an indirect sign of it. Belarusian defenders of Baumgertner have willingly been commenting on the process for the last two weeks. But Baumgertner's lawyer Dzmitry Harachka said yesterday:

“A timeout was taken.”

Asked about the reason, he said: “No reasons. If I can say it... we just been asked not to give comments.”

The last hope for Baumgertner is the so called Minsk Agreement signed by the CIS member states. Under the document, a country can extradite a suspect to another country.

The case of Uralkali was discussed by Putin and Lukashenka two days ago at the CSTO summit. However, details of the talks are not released. The Russian president said earlier he wouldn't comment on Baumgertner's arrest in order “not to bring the problem into a stalemate, but to solve it.”

Lukashenka demanded that Suleiman Kerimov should sell his stake in Uralkali – a condition to release Baumgertner. Sources name possible buyers – co-owner of Sistema company Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Russneft founder Mikhail Gutseriev, former banker Vladimir Kogan and Rosneft company, though Igor Sechin denied the information.

Russian Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov said yesterday that state companies should not buy Uralkali shares, because it is risky. Chinese colleagues cannot agree with him. A Chinese sovereign wealth fund, Chengdong, purchased a 12.5% stake in Uralkali, which still remains attractive despites scandals. Chinese businessmen are known for their negotiations skills. So, both Baumgertner and Kerimov have a rather good ally.