Lawyers appeal Belarus court's denial to release Uralkali CEO

09 September 2013 23:07  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Lawyers representing detained Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner filed an appeal on Monday challenging the ruling of a district court in Minsk, which had denied a motion to release the fertilizer executive from pretrial custody.

On 6 September the Partizansky District Court in Minsk rejected attempts by Baumgertner's defense team to have him freed from a Belarus jail despite guarantees of support for his release for high level Russian officials. The judge ruled Baumgertner was to remain in custody while authorities continue their investigation.

Baumgartner now faces up to 10 years of incarceration if found guilty. His detention has escalated a feud between Belarus and Russia that was sparked when Russia-based Uralkali exited in July its trading venture with Belarus producer Belaruskali.

Baumgartner served as chairman of the venture, called Belarusian Potash Co (BPC).

He was arrested in Minsk on 26 August on allegations that he abused his authority as BPC chairman by allegedly making management decisions that favoured his company over the partnership.

The lead attorney representing Baumgertner, Dmitry Goryachko, said he had filed the necessary documents for an appeal of the decision but was not sure when there would be a hearing on the matter.

Russian officials have repeatedly demanded that Baumgertner be released, alleging that the Uralkali head is being politically persecuted over the split up of BPC.

Since Baumgertner was incarcerated, Russia has banned imports of hogs and pork products from their Belarus as well as placed sanctions on oil and dairy products.

On Friday Russian President Vladmir Putin said the issues needed to be resolved before the situation worsened between the economic and political allies.

By: Mark Milam
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