Lukashenka demanded a ransom for Baumgertner
15:00, — Politics
Vladislav Baumgertner might be transferred to Russia after compensating for the damage.
Lukashenka said it as he met with heads of mass media companies of the CIS member states on 21 October.
“If you want to investigate this case, go ahead and do it,” Alexander Lukashenko said addressing the Russian side. He reminded that Belarus had forwarded 19 volumes of the potash case investigation data to Russia.
“Things are not simple here. They sold potash fertilizers via a Swiss company. They stated they charged, let us say $350, but in fact they sold the products at $400 and shared the margin. There were several incidences of it. It is not the case when you can get away with it,” he said. He added that the case was reclassified into embezzlement.
“We would better bring it to an end, come to grips with it and punish those found guilty,” the Belarusian leader said.
“I am not bloodthirsty. I am not keen on imprisoning them. Let him compensate for the damage that has been proved so far. If he does, we will try to transfer Baumgertner who is loved so much by you and Russian people,” Lukashenka said.
“Migration issue cannot be addressed through bans”
“If you seek one-stroke solution to the issue, you get into this trap, will be left alone with all the countries and people around you seeing you the wrong way. Migration issues should be tackled differently, not through any restrictions, visas and so on. Russia will address this issue differently. I am confident there are enough smart people in Russia to start addressing the issue from the bottom, creating favorable conditions and placing all the processes under control,” Lukashenka said.
According to him, the issue has become even more relevant and pressing following the recent riots in Biryulyovo. The head of state believes this sphere is highly corruptive, luring criminals. “You need to address this issue. Create such an order to avoid any similar violations in the future,” he added.
As for the anti-migrant mass protests in Biryulyovo, Lukashenka stressed that such things cannot be pardoned, but both locals and immigrants should be treated equally. “There should be well-considered, sound policy built from the bottom,” the Belarusian leader believes.
Mikhail Gutseriyev as Uralkali head
Lukashenka said he would be happy to see Mikhail Gutseriyev as the owner of the controlling stake in Uralkali.
Alexander Lukashenka noted that he had not discussed the issue with Mikhail Gutseriyev face to face. “His company is building a mine here to produce up to 1.5 million tonnes of fertilizers. He could make part of the system as a private trader. It would be beneficial for us,” the head of state said.
Lukashenka was asked whether he talked with potential buyers of the controlling stake in Uralkali: Mikhail Prokhorov, Vladimir Kogan and Mikhail Gutseriyev.
“No, I did not. I do not know Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Kogan, do not know what they do. I know Mikhail Gutseriyev but we have not discussed the issue in person,” the President said. The Belarusian leader said that he offered Mikhail Gutseriyev to buy the controlling stake in the company, the businessman promised to consider it. “I later heard he was participating,” the head of state said.
Lukashenka also told the participants of the meeting that when he was discussing the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin he understood that “the issue was relevant for him as well”. “At the very least the state may buy the asset and I am sure we will be able to restore the prices within two or three years. There is nothing wrong with the state keeping the asset at this point. It can be sold at a better price later,” he said.
Belarus ready to sell its stake in MTS
Belarus is ready to sell its stake in MTS, Lukashenka said.
"If you are ready to buy tomorrow, we are ready to sell,” said the Belarusian leader.
In response to the comment that the price of $1 billion is too high, the head of state said: "In economy and finance there is no such thing as cheap or expensive. This is the process when people sit down and negotiate.”
Lukashenka noted that selling and pricing can be done through public bidding. “You see the price of $500 million at a public auction, and you think to sell or not. I would not sell. I would wait for a better market. If today the price were not $1 billion, which was set when the market was high, but $900 million, I would sell it,” the head of state cited an example.
When answering one of the questions, Lukashenka referred to the proposals for the merger of MAZ and KaMAZ. According to him, such privatization should bring investments, increase in the output, new technologies and new markets. However, in the case of KaMAZ nothing of the aforementioned is guaranteed.
He noted that the Russian partners initially suggested setting up a joint company and working together for several years without exchanging property to see the real benefits. “Recently I read a report in mass media that someone out there (this is commonplace in Russia to throw the information on behalf of authorities, a company or someone else) said that the Russian are not interested in the project without shares. So you are not interested. No big problem here I guess,” the head of state said.
Lukashenka stressed that when Belarus’ lucrative assets are privatized he puts his signature on the documents last. Before that, a decision on privatization is taken by the employees of a particular company, the local authorities, the ministry and the government.
“In selling the property created by the people, I should be more meticulous than selling my own. This is my position, and I will proceed from this,” he said.
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