Bloomberg News

Ex-Bankas Snoras Owners Arrested Again in U.K. Over Fraud Claims

July 06, 2012

Bankas Snoras AB’s former owners were arrested again in London today on expanded claims they siphoned at least 1.7 billion litas ($609.5 million) from the failed Lithuanian lender to finance luxurious lifestyles.

Russian banker Vladimir Antonov and his business partner Raimondas Baranauskas, who were detained in November and are fighting extradition to Lithuania, were arrested a second time after authorities probing the bank’s collapse in the Baltic country issued another European arrest warrant containing new allegations, John Hardy, a lawyer for the prosecution, said at a scheduled hearing today in London’s Westminster Magistrates Court.

The case will be limited to the claims in the previous warrant and the new one, even if additional information is found by Lithuanian investigators, Judge John Zani ruled today. Both men deny the claims and declined to comment outside court.

“These men need to know if they are going back to Lithuania or not” so they can “get on with their lives,” Zani said. The judge freed the men on their existing bail conditions and scheduled another hearing for July 27.

Antonov, 37, and Baranauskas, 54, are wanted in Lithuania for allegedly forging documents and fixing accounts in a scheme that caused the collapse of the country’s third-biggest bank by deposits and financed purchases of luxury homes, cars and a U.K. soccer team. Antonov claims the case may be politically motivated due to articles in newspapers he owned.

The men are fighting the fraud charges in Lithuania, where prosecutors issued arrest warrants in May doubling the size of the claims against them.

Snoras filed a separate civil lawsuit on May 18 against the men in Britain for 395.5 million pounds ($613 million), accusing them of breaching their duties to Snoras and misappropriating or misusing its assets. A court order freezing the men’s assets was granted by the court a day earlier.

Hardy said after today’s hearing that the new claims increase the amount of money that was taken by the men, but he wasn’t able to determine by how much.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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