MOSCOW, February 17 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court on Monday upheld a previous court decision to extend the house arrest of former Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner, who faces abuse of power charges in Russia, until April 14, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.

The court thus rejected an appeal filed by the defense. Attorneys asked to choose any other less restrictive preventive measure for Baumgertner.


Baumgertner was detained in Belarus last August and charged with abuse of power. In November, he was turned over to Russia and placed in detention. According to Federal Penitentiary Service spokesperson Sergey Tsygankov, he was held in a cell with three other suspects until he was placed under house arrest. He added that Uralkali CEO was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device. The official didn't provide any additional details on restrictions imposed against Baumgertner.

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on December 6 that the Uralkali case had been too politicized, and that a thorough investigation would be carried out. The charges against Baugertner in Belarus followed a July decision by Uralkali to dissolve its international cartel with Belaruskali, sending potash prices spiraling down.

Baumgertner and Uralkali deny any impropriety. The company announced in late December that it was replacing him as CEO, though he remains on the board. That decision came days after billionaires Mikhail Prokhorov and Dmitry Mazepin completed their purchase of almost half the potash giant's shares.

The buy-out of the stakes owned by another billionaire, Suleiman Kerimov, and his partners was seen as potentially easing the tensions between the Russian and Belarusian companies.