Russia Opens Case Against Potash Boss, Seeks Extradition

Portugal’s fixture against Luxembourg is as close to a given as international football ever produces, especially when you consider the minnows have just one win in nine qualifying matches this campaign. Group F Standings 6 FIFA.com. The trip to Baku isn’t a gruelling one for the Russians. With Baku sitting just south of Russia’s east border, Capello’s team will be well-rested and ready to outplay their opponents. The teams met almost a year to the day on Oct. 16, 2012, but as the Moscow crowd found out, Azerbaijan are capable of making a nuisance of themselves. A late Roman Shirokov penalty notched a 1-0 victory in a match that saw the visitors fall just short of an excellent draw. Azerbaijan’s recent 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland produced their only three points of the qualifying campaign, as Berti Vogts’ team continue to stutter with draws. Russia haven’t been quite as accommodating. Capello’s team have 19 goals to their name, including four against Luxembourg last time out. The 1-0 win over Portugal at the Luzhniki Stadium remains their most important victory in the group, although Helder Postiga’s only goal in the return fixture ensures a few nerves will still be jangling. The visitors have produced goalscorers from all over the pitch during qualifying and have enough attacking resources to trouble the best. Alexander Samedov, Victor Faizulin, Denis Glushakov and Alexander Kerzhakov netted against Luxembourg, highlighting Capello’s intense attacking style rather succinctly.

Azerbaijan vs. Russia: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

Credit: Reuters/Denis Sinyakov By Polina Devitt and Alessandra Prentice MOSCOW | Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:09pm EDT MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has opened a criminal investigation into the chief executive of potash producer Uralkali, Vladislav Baumgertner, and will request his extradition from Belarus, federal investigators said on Monday. The step by Russian authorities opened the door for a face-saving resolution of a tense situation in which the head of the world’s biggest producer of the fertilizer component is under house arrest in Moscow’s neighbor and close ally. Belarus detained Baumgertner, 41, at Minsk airport in late August, about a month after Russian company Uralkali abruptly pulled out of a potash sales cartel with a partner in Belarus. Uralkali’s withdrawal from the alliance with state-run Belaruskali rocked the global potash industry and threatened Belarus, which is heavily dependent on cheap Russian energy and financial aid, with losses. The soil nutrient accounts for 12 percent of Belarus’s state revenues and about 10 percent of export income, and the cartel’s demise angered Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus said last week that it had started selling potash on its own, but Lukashenko urged the two sides to put the lucrative partnership back together again. The cartel accounted for 40 percent of the world market worth around $20 billion a year. WILL KERIMOV SELL? Baumgertner was initially put in pre-trial detention but later moved to house arrest. Charged with abuse of power and embezzlement, he faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted. Russia’s federal Investigative Committee, which answers to President Vladimir Putin, said it had opened an investigation into Baumgertner on suspicion of abuse of power and would request his extradition. The extradition could save face for Lukashenko, who has said his country could hand over Baumgertner as long as Russia took steps to prosecute him. An extradition would not necessarily lead to a trial, however, and it could reduce pressure on the main owner of Uralkali, Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, to sell his stake so that the cartel can re-form. It would, though, put the asset more firmly in Putin’s hands. There has been intense lobbying by businessmen with past ties to the Russian leader to buy Kerimov’s 21.75 percent stake in Uralkali.