OAO Uralkali’s Vladislav Baumgertner now sits in a Moscow jail after the CEO of the world’s No. 1 potash producer was extradited from Belarus following three months under arrest for abandoning a cartel with its government comprising 40% of global output.
Russia’s Investigative Committee will determine his short-term fate, according to a spokeswoman. Since the spilt, the soil nutrient’s $22 billion market has been upended, while Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s government, citing a currency collapse and debt obligations, jailed Baumgartner in response.
Moscow opened its case last month after Lukashenko demanded Russia press criminal charges as a precondition for extraditing Baumgartner. The 41-year-old may be placed under house arrest or released on bail, the Russian spokeswoman said, according to Bloomberg News.
Lukashenko called for an ownership change prior to a joint potash marketing resumption. To this end, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Group has purchased majority-owner Suleiman Kerimov’s 21.75% company shares, valued at about $3.5 billion.
The 48-year-old Prokhorov, with a $13 billion net worth, also holds 17% of United Co. Rusal, a top aluminum producer, and has owned past investments in GMK Norilsk Nickel and a 40% stake in Polyus Gold International Ltd. for $3.62 billion.