Uladzimir Makei, Belarusian Foreign Minister, is reported to have confirmed during a press conference in Moscow that he was “confident the problem will soon be solved completely in a lawful manner.” He added that he was unable to give the precise date of the extradition, but that to his knowledge only a “few minor things are left to be done.” Makei noted he had agreed with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that “private issues” would not have a negative impact on the co-operation between the two countries. Mr Makei’s announcement comes after the Belarusian Prosecutor General, Alexander Konyuk, confirmed on 14th November 2013 that there were no obstacles to the extradition, although he emphasised that Uralkali’s CEO faced similar charges in Moscow to the ones he faced in Minsk.
As mentioned in a previous blog on 17th October 2013, Baumgertner is currently under house arrest in Minsk on charges of embezzlement and abuse of power. His arrest in August 2013 came in the wake of Uralkali’s decision to withdraw from a cartel with Belarusian potash producer, Belaruskali, leading to a collapse in prices. Together the two companies controlled approximately forty per cent of global potash exports. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko made clear his strong opposition to the termination of co-operation between the two companies. Potash, a soil nutrient, provides twelve per cent of the state revenue of Belarus and ten per cent of its export income.