UK Court Arrests Property of Former Snoras Bank Shareholder Antonov

A British court has ordered the arrest of property belonging the former majority shareholder of the Lithuania’s Bankas Snoras, Vladimir Antonov, in connection with the disappearance of 493 million euros, according to reports in the Lithuanian media on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court of England and Wales ruled on May 18 that the property which is both directly and indirectly owned by Antonov, including securities of companies he owns, bank accounts and other property entrusted to banks, is subject to arrest. Antonov may appeal the court decision.

Lithuanian newspaper Verslo zinios reports that the Prosecutor General of Lithuania in early May reduced the amount of embezzlement of which the former owners of Snoras are accused to 300 million litas (86 million euros). Currently residing in London, major shareholders Raimundas Baranauskas and Antonov, are accused of embezzling 700 million litas (202 million euros) compared with the earlier claim of 987 million litas (285 million euros).

The Chairman of the Bank of Lithuania, Vitas Vasiliauskas says that prosecutors are now suing for 700 million litas, despite the Bank of Lithuania declaring that property worth more than 9.9 billion litas has been lost, because it was necessary to separate the trial of civil suits against the owners of the bank, and the bankruptcy process.

On November 16, 2011 the Lithuanian government nationalized Snoras bank to save it from bankruptcy. The Central Bank of Lithuania said that it needed to nationalize Bankas Snoras because of the failure to meet regulator requirements, failure to provide requested information, and the poor condition of assets.

All operations of the bank were subsequently suspended. In November 2011 the Bank of Lithuania admitted that an infusion of public capital would not save Snoras and decided to liquidate it. The court decision on Snoras bankruptcy was taken on December 7 and came into force on December 20, 2011.

Two major shareholders of Snoras, Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov and his partner Lithuanian Raimondas Baranauskas, are suspected of embezzling the assets of the bank and financial fraud. Lithuania’s Prosecutor General’s Office issued an international warrant for their arrest, and in November 2011 Antonov and Baranauskas were detained in London then released on bail.


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