POMPEY owner Vladimir Antonov says it’s ‘business as usual’ despite his bank being placed into administration as investigators probe a ‘missing’ £250m.
AB Bankas Snoras was placed into temporary administration by the Lithuanian Central Bank to evaluate the bank’s financial position.
According to Bloomberg Business Week, an offshoot of the American business news specialists, Lithuania Central Bank governor Vitas Vasilauskas said assets totalling more than 1billion lita – around £250m – may be unaccounted for.
It also reports Lithuania Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius saying in a radio interview that the Central Bank acted after Snoras ‘began moving funds to offshore accounts’.
Mr Antonov, whose firm Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) took control of Pompey in June, owns 68.1 per cent of the bank.
In a statement released last night, CSI said: ‘In the light of the recent events at Snoras Bank, Convers Sports Initiatives would like to reassure its companies, staff, and the fans of its teams and events, that it remains very much business as usual.
‘We are operationally unaffected by the Snoras Bank entering temporary administration. CSI has been solely financed through the private wealth of its owners. Snoras Bank has never provided funding for the purchase of a CSI organisation, nor has it lent any money to these businesses after they have been acquired.
‘We continue to look at expanding the CSI business and hope to announce a number of further acquisitions in the near future as well as continuing to support our existing businesses.’
Simon Freakley, senior partner and CEO of corporate advisory and restructuring specialists Zolfo Cooper, confirmed he has been appointed the bank’s temporary administrator.
Snoras’s activities have been temporary suspended and the branch network will re-open fully on Monday.
In a statement on the Snoras website, Mr Freakley confirmed the bank was under temporary administration and is not insolvent.
The Reuters news agency has reported the Lithuanian government agreed to take over Snoras’s assets after discovering assets were missing. Reuters also reported that the decision was taken due to a risk of ‘insolvency’ and ‘possible criminal activity’.
Visitors to Mr Antonov’s website, antonov.com, were met with an ‘under construction’ message yesterday.
Pompey fan John Westwood hopes there will be no impact on the club, adding: ‘Being a Pompey fan everything seems exciting at the moment but when it starts to look bright again something comes along and kicks you in the teeth.’