Russian court unfreezes assets of Snoras bank after 40 bln rubles claim dropped
MOSCOW, November 3 (RAPSI) – The Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court’s injunction ruling after the Moscow Commercial Court dropped a lawsuit filed by Russian businessman and former co-owner of the Lithuanian nationalized bank Snoras, Vladimir Antonov, seeking to collect more than 40 billion rubles ($642 million) from Lithuania, according to court records.
Thus, the Court of Appeals upheld a Snoras’ complaint against the injunction ruling issued by the Moscow Commercial Court in August.
At that time, the first-instance court upheld Antonov’s claim and prohibited the Russian state registration service to deal with 16 non-residential buildings owned by Snoras in the city of Moscow and the Moscow region. The court also prohibited the service to register cancellation of agreements, by which the Lithuanian bank leased two plots of land, before they expired.
The Moscow Commercial Court dropped the lawsuit on October 28.
Earlier, Lithuania’s authorities petitioned for dismissal of Antonov’s application without prejudice or termination of the case. The defendant insisted that Lithuania had legal immunity, in accordance with a bilateral treaty signed with Russia.
Antonov sought to collect more than 20.2 billion rubles ($324.5 million) in compensation from Lithuania for property damage and over 19.9 billion rubles ($320 million) in business reputation damage. Moreover, the plaintiff demanded to declare illegal information distributed by the country’s president Dalia Grybauskaite, who had criticized performance of Snoras managers before nationalization of the bank, and published in online media in 2011, according to court papers.
Snoras was part of Antonov's Convers Group. The Convers Group held 68.10 percent of the bank and another 25.3 percent was held by Baranauskas.
In addition, the government of Latvia also announced that the Krajbanka bank, currently on the verge of bankruptcy and 60% owned by Antonov, would be nationalized.
Antonov has been charged by Lithuanian authorities with embezzlement of EUR 565 million, forging documents and fraudulent accounting and put on the European wanted list. Antonov and his partner Raimondas Baranauskas, were arrested on November 24, 2011 in the United Kingdom and put in detention but later they were released on bail. Antonov left the United Kingdom trembling for his life. He could face up to 10 years in Lithuania's prison if convicted.