MINSK, November 21 (RIA Novosti) – Prosecutors in Belarus said Thursday that they have handed the jailed head of a Russian potash producer over to authorities in Russia in a move that is likely to soothe tensions between the two former Soviet states.
The Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office said Uralkali chief executive Vladislav Baumgertner did not seek to appeal the extradition.
Baumgertner was arrested in absentia by a Moscow court in October, and is wanted in Russia on charges of abuse of office.
The businessman was detained in Minsk in August and later charged with fraud after Uralkali pulled out of a cartel agreement with Belarusian state-owned fertilizer giant Belaruskali, sparking steep falls in potash prices.
The arrest caused a political crisis between Moscow and Minsk, and was discussed at several meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.
Baumgertner's extradition had been widely expected after Uralkali’s chief shareholder, billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, concluded a preliminary deal, estimated to be worth up to $4.4 billion, to sell out of the company.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has not hidden his distaste for Baumgertner and Kerimov, who he accuses of causing severe financial damage to both Uralkali and Belaruskali.
Former Russian presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov said Monday that he had reached an agreement to buy Kerimov's 21.75 percent in Uralkali.
Updates with announcement of extradition.