Head of Russia's Uralkali detained in Belarus - agencies

Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:20am EDT
 
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MOSCOW Aug 26 (Reuters) - The head of Russia's largest potash producer Uralkali has been detained in Belarus, Russian news agencies reported on Monday, escalating friction between the two ex-Soviet neighbours after the collapse of a joint sales pact.

Vladislav Baumgertner, also a supervisory board member at the Belarus Potash Co (BPC), was held by the Belarusian Investigative Committee on suspicion of abusing his position and official powers, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Uralkali pulled out of the BPC partnership at the end of July, hitting shares in potash firms and raising the prospect of aggressive competition in a market where a few suppliers have long been able to command high prices for the soil nutrient.

The Russian company declined immediate comment. Reuters could not reach the Belarus Investigative Committee, the country's top crime-fighting body, for immediate comment.