The detention of Vladislav Baumgertner, the general director of the Russia-based Uralkaliy firm and the head of the supervisory board of the Belarusian Potash Company, in Minsk earlier on Monday has taken the staff of the Belaruskaliy open joint stock company by surprise, Anatoly Makhlai, Belaruskaliy’s deputy general director for ideology, said. “That, of course, was totally unexpected,” Makhlai said. He found it hard to say how Baumgertner’s detention could affect the state of the potash market and the conclusion of new contracts. Belarusian prosecutors have presented official charges to Vladislav Baumgertner, the general director of the Russia-based Uralkaliy firm and the head of the supervisory board of the Belarusian Potash Company. Baumgertner was detained in Minsk earlier on Monday and was taken into custody, Pavel Traulko, an official spokesperson for the Belarusian Investigation Committee said on Monday. He is being accused of power abuse and official misconduct and may face up to ten years in prison with confiscation of property under Belarusian laws. The committee initiated criminal proceedings on charges of power abuse and official misconduct against another four top officials of the Belarusian Potash Company, including Oleg Petrov, a supervisory board member; Konstantin Solodovnikov, the company’s first deputy general director; Igor Yevstratov, the deputy general director for finance; Dmitry Samoilov, the head of the freight department. Both the Belarusian police and Interpol have put them on their wanted lists. All of them, including Vladislav Baumgertner, are accused of official misconduct which significantly damaged the state and public interests of Belarus, the Belaruskaliy open joint-stock company and the Belarusian Potash Company. “On the basis of factual evidence at its disposal, the Investigation Committee considered the aforesaid persons facing criminal charges to be defendants,” the committee spokesperson said. In the meantime, the Belarusian Investigation Committee has received a note from the Russian embassy in Minsk with a demand to provide access to Russian national Vladislav Baumgertner, the general director of the Russia-based Uralkaliy company, who was detained in the Belarusian capital earlier on Monday, Andrei Savinykh, the press secretary of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, told Itar-Tass. “We have re-directed the inquiry contained in the Russian embassy note to the Investigation Committee, which should provide consular access to Baumgertner under international agreements,” Savinykh said. At the same time, Vladimir Marchukov, a counselor at the Russian embassy in Belarus, said that the Russian diplomatic mission had not received any reply to its note from the Belarusian Investigation Committee as of yet.