MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus are expected to have a bilateral meeting in Minsk later Thursday and to discuss the situation around Vladislav Baumgertner, the Director General of Uralkaliy company, the world’s leading producer of potash fertilizers, Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters.
He said that the meeting between the two leaders will take place on the sidelines of a summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
“We expect the talks /between Putin and Lukashenko - Itar-Tass/ to be very meaty, Ushakov said.
When a reporter asked him if the situation around Baumgertner’s arrest might be discussed in a bilateral format, Ushakov said: “Intensive contacts between the Russian and Belarusian law enforcement agencies are in full swing now and the Prosecutor General’s Office is engaged in them, too.”
“There is an intense everyday communication on the issue and I can’t rule out that the problems will also be discussed in the course of the talks in Minsk,” Baumgertner said. “Actually, the Presidents discussed it by telephone.”
Uralkaliy said July 30 it was ending the exports of fertilizers via the Belarusian Potash Company— joint venture between Uralkaliy and the Belaruskaliy state enterprise. August 26, Baumgertner was detained in Minsk after talks with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich.
He was taken to custody in connection with the criminal cases instituted by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus. Later on, the Belarusian authorities released Baumgertner from jail, placed him under house arrest and redefined the charges from “abuse of occupational duties and powers” to “embezzling”.
In the meantime, Russia’s Investigations Committee plans to file a request for Baumgertner’s return to Russia where he and the former First Deputy Director General of the Belarusian Potash Company, Konstantin Solodovnikov are suspected the offenses that inflicted heavy damage on the latter company and Belaruskaliy.
A Moscow court has issued an authorization to arrest both Baumgertner and Solodovnikov.
Lukashenko told editors-in-chief from CIS countries Belarus might hand Baumgertner over to Russia after Minsk received compensation for the damage it assessed at $ 1.5 billion to $ 2.0 billion.
He admitted along with it that Russia had sustained a damage of around $ 3 billion, adding he personally was highly interested in clearing Baumgertner out the issue as early as possible.