Anzhi Makhachkala Owner Wanted by Belarus Authorities

September 2, 2013

Suleiman Kerimov, discount owner of Russian Premier League Anzhi Makhachkala, treatment has been named a wanted man by authorities in Belarus over alleged offenses that could carry a 10-year prison term, investigators said on Monday.

The billionaire oligarch, who shot to fame when he brought world football stars to previously little-known Anzhi, has been named a suspect in “the abuse of power and official authority” in relation to a collapsed joint venture in the fertilizer industry.

Kerimov is the largest shareholder in the Uralkali company, which partnered with a Belarusian firm to create BKK, which produced over 40 percent of the world’s supply of potash, a key fertilizer ingredient. The joint venture was ended abruptly last month, a decision accompanied by the sale of Anzhi’s star players and a diplomatic spat between Russia and Belarus.

“The shareholder of the Uralkali open joint-stock company Suleiman Kerimov has been added by the Investigative Committee of Belarus, in the capacity of a suspect, to the already proceeding criminal case related to officials of the BKK closed joint-stock company,” investigators said in a statement.

The investigators made a point of noting that Belarusian law allowed for up to a decade in prison for those found guilty under the legislation being used against Kerimov. Another Russian businessman, Uralkali chief executive Vladislav Baumgertner, was arrested in Belarus on Friday.

The potash industry is a major source of revenue for the Belarusian government, which depends heavily on trade with Russia.

This follows after Anzhi last month said the club was to abandon its big money approach, which saw the team achieve third in the Russian league last season and challenge more established sides in the Europa League.

Since then, there has been a fire sale of big name players at Anzhi, with forwards Samuel Eto’o and Willian joining Chelsea and defender Christopher Samba leaving for Dynamo Moscow.