The authorities in Belarus have arrested Vladislav Baumgertner, the head of Russia’s largest potash producer Uralkali.
Invited to Minsk for a meeting with the prime minister, he was then held and charged with abusing his position and official powers, an offence that carries a prison term of up to 10 years.
This comes just weeks after Baumgertner’s firm pulled out of a partnership known as the Belarus Potash Company.
That joint venture controlled more than 40 percent of the world’s exports of potash, which is one of the most-important ingredients in agricultural fertilisers.
The joint sales pact – some called it a cartel – kept a limit on production which pushed up prices. They are now forecast to fall as much as 25 percent in the second half of 2013.
Uralkali’s shares slipped 3.36 percent in Moscow, bringing its losses to about 27 percent since the Belarus Potash Company was dissolved.
Belarus is a close ally of Russia, but the surprise collapse of the potash partnership has strained relations between the two countries.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov was critical of the arrest and called it “rather strange and inappropriate”.
Potash is a valuable source of foreign currency for Belarus which has retained the Soviet economic model, with largely state control.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1The effects of the Bretton Woods Agreement 70 years on
- 2Major economic hit expected for Israel from Gaza conflict
- 3Chinese food scandal probe causes fast food chains to remove products
- 4Apple ‘honestly surprised’ by big China iPhone sales boost
- 5Alstom investigation ‘nearing criminal charges’ in UK over alleged corruption
- 1More sanctions against Russia, massive job cuts at Microsoft and ‘cheap’ warplane
- 2Farnborough: Textron Scorpion budget military jet aimed at cash-strapped governments
- 3Can Malaysia Airlines survive this latest tragedy?
- 4Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs to remove Nokia duplication
- 5Liberty Global buys stake in UK broadcaster ITV
Wires > Business
- 01:05 CET Poll shows UK homeowner confidence stalls for first time in 18…
- 01:04 CET UK car production boosted by new models in first half of 2014
- 23:13 CET UBS says bail in French tax evasion probe set at $1.48 billion
- 22:59 CET Facebook beats Wall Street targets, stock hits record high
- 22:27 CET Stocks rise on solid earnings, S&P sets new record high
- 22:26 CET Facebook second-quarter revenue increases 61 percent
- 22:20 CET Facebook second quarter revenue increases 61 percent
- 21:40 CET UBS says French tax probe bail at $1.48 billion unwarranted