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Former Snoras bank owner Vladimir Antonov plans to sue Lithuania over lost investment

Vladimiras Antonovas
„Reuters“/„Scanpix“ nuotr. / Vladimir Antonov
Šaltinis: BNS

Vladimir Antonov, a Russian citizen and former owner of Lithuanian bank Snoras, says he plans to file a lawsuit against Lithuania in New York over lost investments.

"I plan to fight until the end. Besides, I am now launching a civil case against Lithuania over lost investments. The dispute location is New York. And my lawyers warned the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance back in spring we were going to initiate litigation against it. The law says we have to wait six months. If I am not mistaken, those six months will end in the middle of October," Antonov said in an interview to the Lietuvos Rytas daily.

Antonov owned a 68-percent stake in Snoras, and bank Snoras was one of the main shareholders of the Lietuvos Rytas daily.

According to Antonov, another former Snoras shareholder, Raimondas Baranauskas, who owned 25 percent of bank shares, "will not be able to litigate against the State of Lithuania in New York as he is your citizen."

Asked where he was going to get money from for litigation against Lithuania, Antonov said the United Kingdom is currently paying for his lawyers.

"Our fight will take years. If we talk about money, my money is still frozen. But the British are also providing legal services the state is paying for. I have loyal friends who would lend me money. There are people ready to pay for the civil lawsuit in New York and, in case of victory, they would get their money back with interest. A long fight is ahead of us," he said.

Antonov also said in the interview he had bought various expensive properties in France and the UK by taking out mortgages. But, he acknowledged, several mortgages were paid off from Snoras accounts.

"All properties in France were bought with mortgages I got from banks. Here in the United Kingdom, everything was also bought with mortgages from British banks," he said.

In response to a comment that mortgages in France were paid off with Snoras money, Antonov said: "Yes, I did make payments from a Snoras account. But from my personal account. I was not only the bank's owner but also the bank's customer at the same time. At the time I had my money in Snoras and Krajbanka and used only personal credit cards issued by these banks. Is it illegal?" he said.

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office opened a pre-trial investigation into alleged false accounting, document forgery, abuse, embezzlement, and money laundering at Snoras on 14 November 2011.

Shortly afterwards, suspicions of large-scale embezzlement and document forgery were brought against Antonov and Baranauskas. Baranauskas is also suspected of fraudulent bookkeeping and abuse of official position. European arrest warrants were issued for their arrest. Both suspects are now in London.

Their extradition case was opened in London in late November 2011. Antonov and Baranauskas refuse to be handed over to Lithuania.

A warrant issued on June says the former Snoras shareholders are suspected of having embezzled around LTL 1.7 billion (EUR 0.49 billion) of Snoras assets. A warrant issued in early May said Baranauskas and Antonov were suspected of having embezzled LTL 700 million, down from LTL 987 million mentioned in a previous warrant in late November.

Naujienų agentūros BNS informaciją atgaminti visuomenės informavimo priemonėse bei interneto tinklalapiuose be raštiško UAB „BNS“ sutikimo draudžiama.
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