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Russians Charge Head of Potash Firm

Chief executive of the Russian potash producer Uralkali, Vladislav Baumgertner, is escorted from court on November 22.
Vladislav Baumgertner, the head of the Russian potash firm Uralkali, has been charged with abuse of office following his extradition to Russia from Belarus.

Baumgertner's lawyer, Yuly Tai, said his client denies any wrongdoing.

Baumgertner was arrested in Minsk earlier this year after the collapse of a joint venture with a Belarusian state company. Belarusian authorities charged him with abuse of office and placed him under house arrest.

The news about his extradition to Russia came after Russian businessman Suleiman Kerimov agreed to sell his nearly 22 percent stake in Uralkali to billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka had made the sale of Kerimov's stake in Uralkali a precondition for freeing Baumgertner.

Lukashenka has also called for the restoration of the joint Russian-Belarusian company, which once controlled 40 percent of the global potash market.