Putin, Lukashenko may discuss Uralkali on Thursday - Kremlin aide
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko will have a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council summit. The Uralkali situation, including the arrest of Uralkali General Director Vladislav Baumgertner, may be an item on the agenda, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said.
"Law enforcement authorities of the two countries are maintaining close contacts [with regard to Uralkali]. It is not ruled out that the issue will be discussed at the meeting and, as I have mentioned, that would be a substantive bilateral conversation," Ushakov told a press briefing.
Baumgertner was detained in Minsk in late August. The Belarusian Investigative Committee accused him of the abuse of office (Part 3, Article 424 of the Belarusian Criminal Code) punishable with up to ten years in prison. Baumgertner was moved from the State Security Committee's detention facility to a Minsk apartment and placed under house arrest on September 25.
Belarus said that illegal operations of Baumgertner and some other top managers of the Belarusian Potash Company inflicted damage of $1.5-2 billion on Belarus. Lukashenko said they could transfer Baumgertner to Russia after the damage done to Belarus was repaid.
Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on October 14 they had opened a criminal case against Baumgertner. "The criminal case was opened under Article 201 of the Russian Criminal Code on counts of abuse of office," Markin said.
He also said on October 14 that the Russian Investigative Committee was preparing documents for the extradition of the Uralkali general director.
The Moscow Basmanny Court ordered the arrest of Baumgertner in absentia on October 21.