Belarus extends investigation into Uralkali CEO by two months

28 October 2013 22:23  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Belarus authorities said on Monday that the criminal investigation into Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner has been extended by two months.

The fertilizer executive was arrested in Minsk on 26 August on allegations that he had abused his authority as chairman of the trading venture between Uralkali and Belaruskali and is currently being kept under house arrest.

Originally Baumgertner was accused of abuse of power, but that charge has since been upgraded to embezzlement by Belarus authorities.

Under the country’s law, investigators have two months to complete their inquiry, a deadline which passed on 26 October, but under certain circumstances, it can be extended by a two-month period.

“There has been no change in the restrictions placed on Vladislav Baumgertner. He remains under house arrest,” said a spokesperson with the Belarus Investigative Committee.

Earlier this month, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said he was willing to send the fertilizer executive back to Russia if he was willing to accept paying for the damages inflicted to state-owned potash producer Belaruskali.

Belarus authorities have been trying to get Russian officials to agree to extradite Baumgertner under the condition that he faces judgment within the country’s court system.

In Russia, the Baumansky District Court in Moscow has issued an arrest warrant for Baumgertner, following the decision by the Russian Investigative Committee to file abuse of office charges with the agency, announcing it would be submitting documents for the extradition.

At this point, it is unclear how far along officials are into the process of bringing Baumgertner back to Russia.

Political observers have speculated that Baumgertner would likely not face any substantial repercussions from the charges if the case ever comes to trial in Russia.

By: Mark Milam
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