Former Pompey owner Vladimir Antonov loses bid to block extradition

Former Portsmouth Football Club owner Vladimir Antonov
Former Portsmouth Football Club owner Vladimir Antonov
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FORMER Pompey owner Vladimir Antonov has lost his legal bid to block extradition to Lithuania where he faces £400m fraud charges.

The 39-year-old Russian and his Lithuanian business partner, Raimondas Baranauskas, 57, are both wanted to stand trial in the country.

They said they were being used as ‘scapegoats’ following the nationalisation of Snoras, a Lithuanian bank they controlled.

But two High Court judges in London dismissed their challenge and said there was no evidence to support their claims.

Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Simon dismissed all grounds of challenge to extradition, including that Antonov was being prosecuted because of his Russian nationality and political opinions.

The judges agreed with the Prosecutor General’s Office of Lithuania that the decision to issue the European arrest warrants was valid and justified.

The judges ruled: ‘There is simply no evidence, direct or indirect, from which it can be established, directly or by inference, that there was a causal link between the issue of the EAW to prosecute Vladimir Antonov and his Russian nationality.’

Antonov was chairman of the bank’s board of observers and also a substantial shareholder.

Baranauskas was chief executive and chairman of the board until the bank was nationalised by the Lithuanian government in November 2011.

The pair are accused of stripping 470m euros (£396m) and $10m dollars (£6m) of assets and funds from Snoras.

Both men are also alleged to have submitted false documents to the Lithuanian central bank to conceal their systematic plundering of Snoras, involving 33 transfers to Swiss and other offshore accounts controlled by them, between 2008 and 2011.

Lithuanian prosecutors issued an EAW for them in November 2011 after naming them as the main suspects in a pre-trial investigation.

Antonov was forced to quit Portsmouth FC that year because of the case against him.