Head of world’s leading fertilizer producer Uralkali detained in Belarus
The CEO of the world’s largest potash producer has been detained in Belarus after the company pulled out of a joint venture with Belaruskali which controlled more than 40 percent of global potash exports.
Vladislav Baumgertner is also a supervisory board member of the joint venture with Belaruskali - the Belarus Potash Company (BPC). He was held by the Belarus Investigative Committee on suspicion of “abusing his position and official powers”, RIA Novosti reports.
"The grounds for prosecution were that they have committed an abuse of power for private gain, that caused substantial harm to state and public interests of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the large scale damage to Belaruskali and BPC”, news agencies quote the Investigation Committee.
Last month Uralkali announced the end of its trade agreement with the Belarusian potash company, Belaruskali, breaking the world-wide pricing consortium and changing the fertilizer industry in a day. The company added that it expected prices to fall sharply.
Belarus Potash Company was established in 2005 equally owned by the Belarus state monopoly Belaruskali and the Russian private company Uralkali as an exclusive exporter of potash for the two firms.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko appointed the CEO of the company Elena Kudravets in 2012.
BPC exports of potash amounted to 43% of the world market, but Uralkali's exit from the joint venture is expected to bring the company’s market share sharply down.
Belarus is seeking to arrest four other BPC employees and board members, including Oleg Petrov, through Interpol, Reuters reports. Petrov is Uralkali’s director for marketing and sales as well as a BPC director.
The head of Uralkali Vladislav Baumgartner faces up to 10 year imprisonment with confiscation of property should he be found guilty of the charges.
Potash is one of the most important Belarus exports.