Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Russia opens criminal case against potash exec

RFE/RL / Reuters and Interfax

Russian investigators have opened a criminal investigation into Vladislav Baumgertner, the chief executive of Russian potash producer Uralkali, and will seek his extradition from Belarus.

Russia's Investigative Committee said on October 14 it opened the criminal case on suspicion of abuse of power.

Belarusian authorities detained Baumgertner in Minsk in late August, about a month after Uralkali unexpectedly pulled out of a joint venture with a Belarusian potash firm, causing a row between Russia and Belarus.

Belarus has charged Baumgertner with abuse of office. But Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said last week those charges have been changed to embezzlement after new evidence was discovered.

Lukashenka said Belarus is ready to extradite Baumgertner to Russia if Moscow investigates the case. He said Baumgertner caused "more damage to Russia than to Belarus."