Belarusian court leaves Russian potash firm's CEO under arrest

MINSK, Sept 6 Fri Sep 6, 2013 5:44am EDT

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MINSK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - A district court in Minsk decided to leave the chief executive of Russian potash producer Uralkali in detention on Friday, resisting pressure from Russia to release him after his arrest last month after the break-up of a local joint venture.

Vladislav Baumgertner, CEO of the world's top potash producer, was detained on Aug. 26 while visiting Minsk at the invitation of its prime minister.

His arrest escalated a trade feud sparked in late July when Uralkali pulled out of Belarus Potash Co (BPC), its trading joint venture with Belarus state potash producer Belaruskali.

"Our complaint was not satisfied by the court. We will appeal the decision in the Minsk City Court," his lawyer Dmitry Goryachko told reporters in Minsk.

Baumgertner faces two months in a pre-trial detention centre and up to 10 years if found guilty of abusing power as chairman of BPC's supervisory board.

Uralkali has estimated the collapse of what was the world's largest potash alliance could push prices down 25 percent in the second half of 2013.

That in turn could have a major impact on the economy of Belarus, where the fertiliser accounts for 12 percent of state revenue. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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