Bloomberg News

Lithuanian Prosecutor Lists Snoras Shareholders as Wanted

November 24, 2011

(Updates with markets beginning in sixth paragraph.)

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Lithuanian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas who are former shareholders of Bankas Snoras AB.

Both men are suspected of embezzlement and document forgery, the Prosecutor General said in a statement on its website today. Baranauskas is also suspected of accounting fraud and abuse of authority, it said. Antonov’s spokeswoman, Natalja Olesik, couldn’t be reached on her mobile phone for a response to the allegations. Calls to Antonov’s U.K. and Latvian phone numbers were not answered.

The Baltic nation’s government took over Snoras on Nov. 16 after the central bank discovered at least 300 million euros ($402 million) in assets were missing. Latvia’s bank regulator suspended operations of Latvijas Krajbanka AS, the country’s sixth-biggest deposit bank which is owned by Snoras, on Nov. 21, saying 100 million lati ($190.7 million) was missing.

“This money was the bank’s clients’ money,” said Irena Krumane, head of Latvia’s bank regulator, on Latvian Television last night.

Krajbanka will most likely be liquidated because the bank doesn’t have the resources to meet depositor and creditor demands unless the Lithuanian government decides to recapitalize the lender, said Janis Brazovskis, the lender’s administrator, in an interview with Latvian Independent Television program 900 Seconds today.

Lithuania’s 10-year dollar bond rose today, cutting the yield 0.03 percentage point to 6.60 percent, after reaching a one-month high on Nov. 21. The six-month interbank rate, or the Vilibor, remained unchanged at 2.23 percent, the highest level since Aug. 13, 2010.

The yield on Latvia’s 10-year dollar bond rose 4 basis points to a record 6.48 percent today. Asking prices for three- month money on Latvia’s Rigibor rose 4 basis points to 1.40 percent, the highest level since June 2010.

Depositors can withdraw 50 lati a day beginning today for the rest of the week, said Krumane at a press conference.

Deposits are insured for up to 100,000 euros and the total cost of paying out the insurance may be 350 million lati, which will be covered by the 149 million lati in the deposit insurance fund and borrowing, said Krumane.

Snoras Bank resumed cash withdrawal operations at three of its offices today. Customers can withdraw 500 litai per day.

--Editors: Douglas Lytle, James M. Gomez

To contact the reporters on this story: Milda Seputyte in Vilnius at mseputyte@bloomberg.net; Aaron Eglitis in Riga at aeglitis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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