Snoras Bank's ex-major shareholder Antonov denies embezzlement charges
VILNIUS, May 29 - RAPSI. Snoras bank's former major shareholder Vladimir Antonov denies allegations regarding the theft of funds by the bank's ex-shareholders.
On November 16, 2011, the Lithuanian government decided to nationalize the bank to rescue it from bankruptcy. The official reason given for the bank's nationalization was its failure to meet the watchdog's orders to submit information requested, as well as its poor financial state. Snoras then suspended its operations.
In November 2011, the Bank of Lithuania acknowledged that even help via federal funds would not save the bank and decided to close Snoras down. The courts declared Snoras bankrupt on December 7 and the ruling came into force on December 20, 2011.
Both major Snoras shareholders - Antonov and his Lithuanian business partner Raimondas Baranauskas - have been suspected of appropriating the bank's assets and financial fraud. They were arrested in London in late November on the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office's request. They were later released on bail.
"If we had meant to rob the bank, we would have taken our funds out of the bank and made sure our accounts were in order, since all the money was there. However, all the assets were very quickly frozen because in today's world, we are told, stealing a billion, or covering it up, is an entire process of its own. It is a business transaction, which also needs to be managed and coordinated in the right way," Antonov said on the television program Comments of the Week on TV3.
A UK court earlier frozen Antonov's assets, worth 493 million euros, at the request of the administrator of the Snoras bankruptcy proceedings.
Antonov has not able to explain the disappearance of 4 billion litas (1.158 billion euro) from the bank.