October 21, 2020

Russian wanted by Lithuania arrested in London

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VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — A Russian businessman who owns Portsmouth Football Club and has tried to invest in cash-strapped car maker Saab has been arrested in London in connection with a money laundering probe that has rocked Lithuania and Latvia, officials said Friday.

Vladimir Antonov, 36, and a Lithuanian partner, Raimondas Baranauskas, 53, were detained Thursday on an arrest warrant issued by investigators probing alleged fraud and money laundering at his banks in the Baltic states, Lithuanian prosecutor Tomas Krusna told reporters.

The Bank of Lithuania said late Thursday that his bank there, Snoras Bank, will be liquidated, calling it the best solution for country’s financial system and economy, which were jolted after the bank was nationalized and its operations halted.

Lithuanian regulators claim that hundreds of millions of euros were siphoned from Snoras, the country’s fifth-largest financial institution, while Latvian authorities have said that similar asset-stripping took place on a massive scale at Latvija Krajbanka, a subsidiary bank controlled by Snoras.

Lithuanian bank chief Vitas Vasiliauskas said the government was liquidating the bank rather than waste taxpayers’ money trying to help “a plane that won’t fly.”

“There is no other way to solve this situation,” he said.

 

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