Could a Russian banker be eyeing up football club?

Balram Chainari and his brother Deepak at Fratton Park.
Balram Chainari and his brother Deepak at Fratton Park.
Picture: Pierandrea Guarnieri

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HE’S rich, he likes to try to buy football clubs, and he’s just named Pompey as his favourite team.

Now some are wondering whether Russian banker Roman Dubov could be waiting in the wings to attempt to buy the club.

Mr Dubov and his business partner Vladimir Antonov hit the headlines along the south coast for attempting to buy AFC Bournemouth last year.

Mr Dubov has not got tongues wagging by listing Pompey as his favourite team on Facebook, He also says he is a fan on the club’s page on the same social networking site.

A source told The News: ‘There has been some talk of him and his business partner being interested in the club, as his deal with the Cherries didn’t come off. With Pompey you never really know what’s going on so I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.

‘It would be interesting to see whether they want the club and if they’ve got real money, not just loans, to invest in the club and the team.’

Mr Antonov is a banker, the main shareholder and chairman of leading Lithuanian bank Bankas Snoras, and has interests in other banks in eastern Europe and Spyker Cars. He was listed in 2007 as Russia’s 182nd wealthiest man with an estimated wealth in excess of $300m. Few details are known about Mr Dubov, who has not posted pictures of his face on the internet and did not respond to calls from The News.

His website says he is a director of Work Force Bank in London, and says he is building ‘a major sports holding which will incorporate assets from a wide range of sports’, with plans to invest in football,.

He and Mr Antonov were behind the Convers Group, an international financial and banking group, which made the Bournemouth bid.

Convers’ bid was based around a £1.2m offer for the club, but the group’s overall proposal also included buying back Dean Court as part of a £6m package.

The group’s offers were rejected by the Cherries.

Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir, Pompey’s current owners, have always described themselves as ‘reluctant’ owners.

During Pompey’s administration the owners made it clear they would welcome interest from other parties, but no-one else provided the administrators, UHY Hacker Young, with a £5,000 non-returnable deposit to add weight to their interest.

Pompey say they have had no approach from Mr Dubov or his partners. Chief executive David Lampitt said: ‘I have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever about Mr Dubov. I have not been contacted by them.’