MINSK, September 30 (RIA Novosti) – The CEO of Russian fertilizer giant Uralkali has no complaints about the conditions of his house arrest in Belarus and will be able to meet with Russian foreign service officials every two months, the Russian consul in Minsk said Monday.
Vladislav Baumgertner was arrested in Belarus in August and transferred to house arrest on Thursday.
“He has not complained about his health or anything else. He has not made any requests,” Igor Koryakin, head of the consular service, said after a meeting with Baumgertner.
Uralkali, the world’s biggest producer of potash, has been embroiled in a dispute with its Belarusian counterpart, 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.
His lawyer Alexei Basistov told RIA Novosti last week that Baumgertner currently lives under round-the-clock surveillance in an apartment picked for him by Belarusian security service officers. Baumgertner’s mother, who flew to Minsk on Wednesday, has reportedly been allowed to visit him.
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, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said last week that Baumgertner could be allowed to return to Russia if that country’s authorities investigate Belarus’ claims against him.