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Uralkali Dives as Belarus Detains CEO After Split: Moscow Mover

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Uralkali Dives as Belarus Detains CEO After Split
Workers stand by as excavated potash pours from the tunnel ceiling into an underground storage area at a potash mine, operated by OAO Uralkali in Berezniki, Russia, on Aug. 24, 2013. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Uralkali tumbled the most in three weeks after the chief executive officer of the world’s biggest potash producer was detained in Belarus.

Vladislav Baumgertner was charged with abuse of office in Minsk today, Pavel Traulko, a spokesman for Belarusian investigators, said by phone. Uralkali sank 19 percent on July 30 after announcing its split from Belarusian Potash Co., or BPC, a joint venture that controlled about 40 percent of global potash exports. Baumgertner is chairman of BPC and faces as long as 10 years in prison if found guilty.

The stock dropped as much as 3.8 percent and closed down 3.5 percent at 157.62 rubles in Moscow, the first retreat in four days. The amount of shares trading was equivalent to about 76 percent of the three-month average.

“The Belarusian side has taken the most aggressive position,” Elena Sadovskaya, an analyst at Rye, Man & Gor Securities, said by phone from Moscow. “For the country’s budget, the end to the trade partnership with Uralkali is a serious loss.”

Uralkali’s press office declined to comment by phone. Belarus said it’s also seeking the arrest of four other Uralkali executives, accusing them of a scheme to cut state- owned Belaruskali out of decision-making at the venture, causing damages and losses of about $100 million.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in Moscow at kgalouchko1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at wmoskwa@bloomberg.net

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