UPDATE 3-Russia fiercely rebukes Belarus for detaining potash boss

Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:01pm EDT
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* CEO detained on suspicion of abusing official powers

* Investigators threaten to seize assets

* Uralkali quit joint venture with Belaruskali in July

* Uralkali shares drop 3.4 pct

By Andrei Makhovsky and Alessandra Prentice

MINSK/MOSCOW, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Belarus detained the head of Russia's Uralkali, the world's top potash producer, and threatened to seize its assets in the country on Monday, drawing a fierce rebuke from Moscow in an escalating dispute over the collapse of a cartel.

Vladislav Baumgertner was detained on suspicion of abusing his position and official powers over Uralkali's decision to quit the Belarusian Potash Co (BPC) joint trading venture, according to investigators in Belarus.

It is the first time a top manager of a Russian firm has been detained in Belarus, run since 1994 by President Alexander Lukashenko, who styles himself as "Europe's last dictator".

"What happened today is way out of line," Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told reporters in Moscow, describing the situation as "odd, inappropriate and not fitting to a partnership".   Continued...