Uralkali CEO Baumgertner Is Moved to House Arrest in Moscow

OAO Uralkali Chief Executive Officer Vladislav Baumgertner has been moved to house arrest from the Moscow cell that has held him since he was extradited on Nov. 22 from Belarus, where he was charged with abuse of office.

Uralkali, the world’s biggest producer of the key crop nutrient potash, said today that a court changed the terms of the CEO’s detention. The Berezniki, Russia-based company isn’t aware of any reason to change its view that Baumgertner is innocent, it said in a statement.

Belarus arrested Baumgertner in Minsk after inviting him to a meeting on Aug. 26, about a month after the CEO pulled Uralkali out of a joint venture with Belaruskali that accounted for about 40 percent of global potash shipments. Baumgertner said Belarus had been selling cargoes outside the terms of their marketing venture and pledged to increase production, sending the stocks of rival producers tumbling globally.

Baumgertner, 41, spent a month in a Belarusian KGB jail before he was moved to house arrest in a Minsk apartment. Belarus agreed to return him to Russia on condition authorities there opened a case against him. Alexey Basistov, Baumgertner’s lawyer, declined to comment today.

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