MOSCOW, February 20 (RAPSI) – Criminal charges against Vladislav Baumgertner, former CEO of the world’s largest potash producer, Uralkali, have been dropped in Russia, TASS reported on Friday, citing Belarusian Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk.
“As far as I know, the criminal case against Baumgertner has been dropped [in Russia],” Konyuk said.
He added that this doesn’t mean damages claims cannot be filed against him.
Konyuk said he would soon hold talks with the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia to discuss compensation as part of the so-called potash case.
The Belarusian-Russian potash row was sparked in late July 2013, when Uralkali declared that it would stop selling its product through the Belarusian Potash Company (BKK). The trader dealt primarily with Russian Uralkali and state-run Belaruskali, with both sides accusing each other of undocumented sales without the aid of BKK.
Baumgertner was arrested in Minsk in August 2013 for abuse of office. He was extradited to Moscow on November 22 and then placed under house arrest in December. In September 2014, he was released on 15 million ruble ($241,400 at the current exchange rate) bail.
The Belarusian authorities issued an international APB for Uralkali’s shareholder, billionaire and former Russian senator Suleiman Kerimov, but later withdrew it.
Since 2013, Uralkali’s major shareholders have been Mikhail Prokhorov (27.09% with 21.75% within his Onexim group) and Uralchem holding (20%).
The case initiated against Baumgertner, former Uralkali co-owner Suleiman Kerimov and four former managers of BKK was turned over to Russia in September 2014. Belarus assessed the damages under the case at approximately $10 million.
In Russia, Baumgertner was charged with abuse of office.
In late 2013, the Uralkali board dismissed Baumgertner as the company’s CEO. In 2014, he also quit the company’s board of directors.