MINSK, September 25 (RIA Novosti) – The defense counsel for the CEO of Russian fertilizer giant Uralkali who was arrested in Belarus in August is pushing for a meeting with senior Belarusian prosecutors, a defense lawyer said Wednesday.
Lawyer Anna Slavina said Vladislav Baumgertner’s defense had filed several complaints over the case last week, the Belarus lawyers association said in a statement. The lawyers also requested a meeting with the prosecutor general or his deputy.
During the meeting, the lawyers intend to present their arguments in defense of Baumgertner’s rights and legal interests, she said.
The Prosecutor General’s Office is not expected to respond before next week.
Commenting on media reports that Belarusian lawyers have been banned from commenting on the case, Slavina said that “lawyers are independent and only subject to the law” and that such statements were “inappropriate.”
Uralkali, the world’s biggest producer of potash, has been embroiled in a dispute with Belarusian fertilizer giant Belaruskali since July when Uralkali dissolved an international cartel within which the two companies were cooperating. The move sent international fertilizer prices tumbling. In an apparent act of revenge by Minsk, Baumgertner was charged with abuse of power and taken into custody pending trial.
Minsk is also pressing Russia to extradite billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, Uralkali’s largest shareholder, to Belarus, where he also faces charges of abuse of power.
In a possible path to resolving the conflict, Lukashenko said last week Baumgertner could be extradited to Moscow if Russian authorities undertook to investigate the Belarusian claims against him.