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Billionaire Prokhorov To Buy Uralkali Stake

Mikhail Prokhorov, pictured here in St. Petersburg in June.
The investment firm of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov says it will buy a stake in Uralkali, the world's largest potash producer, amid Russian efforts to ease tensions over the collapse of a potash sales cartel with Belarus.

The firm, Onexim, said in a statement it agreed to buy 21.75 percent of Uralkali from billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, the main shareholder.

Uralkali has been embroiled in a bitter row with its partners in Belarus. The company's chief executive, Vladislav Baumgertner, was arrested in Belarus in August and has been kept under house arrest since.

Belarus authorities are accusing him of "abusing his power" and are investigating Kerimov. The case has been viewed as retaliation for Uralkali's decision to pull out of a venture with its Belarusian partner.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters