Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Uralkali CEO's visit to Minsk was arranged by Russian prime minister, Forbes says

Dzmitry Ulasaw, naviny.by

Uralkali Director General Vladislav Baumgertner's visit to Minsk was arranged by Dmitry Medvedev and the executive's arrest looks like a direct challenge to the Russian prime minister, said the Russian edition of the business magazine Forbes.

According to the magazine, Mr. Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart, Mikhail Myasnikovich, discussed Mr. Baumgertner's visit to Minsk in a telephone conversation last week.

Mr. Baumgertner was arrested as he was about to fly out of Minsk after his meeting with Mr. Myasnikovich on August 26, BelaPAN said.

Forbes reported that Uralkali's largest shareholder, Suleiman Kerimov, as well as Aleksandr Voloshin, chairman of Uralkali's board, and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich had also been invited to travel to Minsk. "But they did not explain why. We did not understand what they wanted," Forbes quoted an unnamed Uralkali executive as saying. "But since the invitation was the result of a conversation between the prime ministers, that is at the interstate level, one could not but go. Baumgertner said, 'OK, I'll fly [to Minsk]."

A spokesperson for Mr. Dvorkovich later denied that the deputy prime minister had been invited to Minsk.