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September 16, 2013 18:20

Belarus launches separate probe into Russians involved in Uralkali case, refers materials to Russia (Part 2)

MOSCOW. Sept 16 (Interfax) - Belarus has made the decision to start a separate investigation in relation to the Russian citizens involved in the "potash case" and to refer the relevant materials to the Russian Prosecutor General' Office, Russia's Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Zvyagintsev told Interfax on Monday.

"There was a telephone conversation today with the Belarusian Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk, who said that a decision had been made in connection with the Uralkali (RTS: URKA) criminal case being investigated in Belarus, to launch a separate probe in relation to Russian citizens and to pass the relevant materials to the Russian Prosecutor General's Office for further investigation," Zvyagintsev said.

He said the Belarusian prosecutor general had given the relevant instructions to the Belarusian investigative agencies.

Uralkali General Director and head of the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC)'s Supervisory Council Vadim Baumgertner was detained in Minsk in late August. The Belarusian Investigative Committee accused him of abuse of authority, an offence that carries a prison term of up to ten years.

A month earlier Uralkali said it would end export sales through the BPC, a joint trader with Belaruskali.

Shortly after Baumgertner's detention, Uralkali shareholder Suleiman Kerimov was accused under a criminal case started against BPC management. Belarusian investigative agencies said in early September that orders had been issued for Kerimov's detention and his placement on the international most wanted list, including through Interpol channels.

Kerimov's offence was qualified in Belarus as organized abuse of authority and office. The Belarusian Interior Ministry reported on September 3 that Interpol had accepted Belarus' request for placing Kerimov on the Interpol most wanted list.

Meanwhile, Interpol said last week that it had not yet made the decision to put Kerimov on the most wanted list and that Belarus' request is being processed by Interpol's General Secretariat.

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