Belarus issues arrest warrant for Russian tycoon as potash power struggle escalates

MINSK, Belarus – Authorities in Belarus have issued an arrest warrant for a Russian billionaire who co-owns Uralkali, a Moscow-based potash company that became embroiled in a power struggle over exports of the mineral.

The arrest warrant for Suleyman Kerimov comes a week after Uralkali’s CEO, Vladislav Baumgertner, was arrested in Belarus on suspicion of “abusing his powers.”

In July, Uralkali pulled out of a trading venture with its partner in Belarus, raising fears in the former Soviet state of a pricing war with Russia. Analysts have described the arrests and allegations by Belarus as an act of retaliation against Moscow.

Russian authorities have demanded Baumgertner’s immediate release.

The Investigative Committee in Belarus said Monday that Kerimov is suspected of “abuse of powers” and could face 10 years in prison if found guilty.