UPDATE 3-Uralkali CEO moved to house arrest in Belarus-lawyer

Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:08pm EDT
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* Could signal easing of Russia, Belarus spat

* Presidents meet again

* Uralkali employees appeal for CEO's release-company

MINSK, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Russian potash producer Uralkali has been moved from jail to house arrest in Belarus, signalling that a diplomatic spat over the collapse of a sales cartel could be nearing an end.

Vladislav Baumgertner was detained while visiting Belarus on Aug. 26, about a month after Uralkali withdrew from a marketing alliance with state-owned miner Belaruskali, an important source of income for Belarus.

He has since been held in a KGB prison in Minsk and could face up to 10 years in jail on charges of abuse of office.

"He was transferred to house arrest yesterday," Dmitry Goryachko, Baumgertner's lawyer, told Reuters.

Russia said last week it expected Belarus to hand over Baumgertner soon, and the development came after the country's presidents and prime ministers discussed his arrest at separate meetings this week.

Uralkali said on Thursday that 6,000 of its employees had signed an appeal to Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, asking for the release of their chief executive and expressing confidence in a swift resolution.   Continued...