Belarus authorities casting wider net in Uralkali potash dispute

29 August 2013 23:46  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner is not the only target of an ongoing investigation into the actions of fertilizer executives in the wake of the split of a European potash cartel, authorities in Belarus said on Thursday.

State investigators are reviewing the possibility of opening an investigation in relation to Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, according to Pavel Traulko, investigative committee representative.

Kerimov is the top shareholder of Uralkali, which controls 20% of the world potash market.

In addition, authorities reportedly have been able to secure arrest warrants for other top executives within the marketing organisation, Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), officials said. BPC was a partnership that marketed potash on behalf of Russia-based Uralkali and Belarus-based Belaruskali.

Belarusian investigators told news agencies that international police organisation Interpol had issued wanted notices for four top managers of the BPC, who were identified as board member Oleg Petrov, first deputy director General Konstantin Solodovnikov, deputy director general for finance Igor Yevstratov and head of the freight department Dmitry Samoilov.

Uralkali CEO Baumgertner was arrested in Minsk on 26 August. Belarus authorities have said the arrest was the result of his role as chairman of BPC. He is accused of favouring his company, Uralkali, over Belaruskali.

Market observers said the possible arrest of others, and any subsequent action against Kerimov, would certainly escalate the increasingly public dispute, which resulted from Uralkali’s decision last month to break away from BPC.

By: Mark Milam
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