Pompey’s owner could be quizzed over bank funds

112523-361_POMPEY_CHELSEA_SR_16/7/11'Pre-Season friendly between Pompey and Chelsea at Fratton Park.'Vladimir Antonov at Fratton Park.''Picture:Steve Reid 112523-361

112523-361_POMPEY_CHELSEA_SR_16/7/11'Pre-Season friendly between Pompey and Chelsea at Fratton Park.'Vladimir Antonov at Fratton Park.''Picture:Steve Reid 112523-361

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POMPEY owner Vladimir Antonov has been asked to appear to answer questions about the collapse of the bank of which he is a major shareholder.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Lithuania has issued a request to question Mr Antonov and shareholders of bank AB Bankas Snoras.

It comes after the Lithunia-based bank was placed into temporary administration, as reported in The News yesterday.

Ruta Dirsiene, office spokesman, confirmed the authority wants to ask questions over alleged illegal operations, money laundering, and the falsification of documents.

She said: ‘If the shareholders of Bank Snoras don’t respond to these requests, an international search warrant will be issued.’

Portsmouth FC have declined to comment.

And Mr Antonov’s firm Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), which took over the club in June, has not responded to calls from The News .

Mr Antonov is the main shareholder of Snoras, owning 68.1 per cent of the bank.

The Lithuanian Central Bank moved to place Snoras into temporary administration to evaluate the bank’s financial position.

Simon Freakley, senior partner and CEO of corporate advisory and restructuring specialists Zolfo Cooper, confirmed Snoras’s activities had been temporarily suspended

Via the Snoras website, Mr Freakley also said the bank was ‘not insolvent’.

In a statement released on Thursday night, CSI moved to reassure Pompey fans - saying it was ‘business as usual’.

The statement said: ‘In the light of 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.’

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 at Snoras.

Bloomberg also reported Lithuania Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius saying in a radio interview that the Central Bank acted over information about ‘moving funds to offshore accounts’.

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