GRODNO, September 26 (Itar-Tass) - The change of measure of restraint to the chief executive officer of the Russian potash giant Uralkali is linked with the end to main investigating actions. “The change of measure of restraint to Vladislav Baumgertner is caused by the fact that initial urgent investigating actions are finalized, as they are linked with the finding of the clues and confiscation of documentation,” head of the Belarusian Investigative Committee Valentin Shayev told reporters on Thursday.
In his words, “this decision was taken” with due account of an appeal from Baumgertner’s relatives.
The Uralkali CEO, who was under arrest at a detention centre of the Belarusian State Security Committee, was put under house arrest at a rented flat in Minsk, Belarus’ capital.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry “will inform the Russian Embassy in Minsk about the place and time of a meeting with Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner” according to legal provisions, spokesman of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry Andrei Savinykh told reporters on Thursday.
He recalled that Russia had sent a note with the request to arrange a meeting with Baumgertner within consular supervision. “The specific documents were submitted in the specific agencies,” Savinykh noted.
Home arrest as first step to release
The decision to place the Uralkali potash company's CEO Vladislav Baumgertner under home arrest instead of holding him in custody may be the first step to his release, his Russian attorneys believe.
The decision to take Baumgertner from custody was taken unexpectedly overnight.
He is under home arrest now in a rented flat chosen for him by the Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) in one of Minsk' districts. He remains under KGB officers' surveillance 24 hours a day, his Russian attorney Alexei Basistov told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
"It is the first step, there is hope for the next," the lawyer said.
"We hope it is the first step to Vladislav's release," added his colleague Yuly Tai, who is an attorney of major Uralkali share holder, Senator Suleiman Kerimov. At the same time, the lawyer complained that the documents of the Baumgertner case were not handed over to Russian law-enforcement authorities so far.
The arrested person’s Belarusian defender Dmitry Goryachko said "We will continue to work and prove Vladislav Baumgertner's innocence. We do not wait for extradition, but we will defend his interests," he told Itar-Tass.
Baumgertner's mother, who arrived by plane in Minsk on Wednesday, hoping to visit her son when he was in custody, is allowed to see him, Basistov said.
The next step may be extradition to Russia, the lawyer believes.
The Uralkali potash producing company's CEO was arrested in Belarus last month on charges of power abuse over a Russian-Belarusian business conflict.
On July 30, Uralkali announced it stopped export sales through the Belarusian potash company. The CEO was arrested in Minsk on August 26 after he had talks with Belarusian Premier Mikhail Myasnikovich.
On September 19, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that he had personally ordered to hand over Uralkali materials to the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office. He did not rule out Baumgertner would be extradited to Russia.