Pompey owner vows to fight bid to ‘nationalise’ his bank

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POMPEY owner Vladimir Antonov and his fellow shareholders of Snoras bank have hit out at the decision to put the bank into temporary administration.

In a statement responding to the decision of the Bank of Lithuania to stop the activities of Snoras bank and appoint a temporary administrator, the shareholders called the action a state sanctioned raid of the bank motivated by the poor economic situation across Europe.

The statement said: ‘The shareholders of the bank have to say that the action taken radically differs from the methods and generally accepted rules of civilised business practices in democratic countries, and from the norms of a market economy. The actions are, in fact, a state sanctioned raid on one of the largest private banks in Lithuania.

‘We have no doubt that these activities reflect a campaign implemented against a private financial institution which are caused by several obvious reasons, among which is the deterioration of the financial situation of the Republic of Lithuania at a time when a new wave of the financial crisis is spreading across the Euro zone. 

‘The intention is to solve state problems at the expense of private business, participants, investors, clients and partners of the bank.’ 

Mr Antonov, whose firm Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) took over the club in June, is the main shareholder of Snoras, owning 68.1 per cent of the bank.

CSI has moved to reassure Pompey fans, saying it is ‘business as usual’.

The statement from Mr Antonov and his fellow shareholders accused the Lithuanian government of trying to solve problems of competition in the financial and banking sector of Lithuania through exerting state power.

It said: ‘It is no surprise that one of the most successful banks in the state, which is among the top five best financial institutions, has been chosen as the target in this regard.

‘The shareholders of the Snoras bank are extremely concerned with the current situation, which under the apparent scenario planned by the state, will inevitably lead to the further deterioration of the economy and finances of Lithuania, and will also cause major harm to its international reputation and image in political circles and within the global economy.’

Mr Antonov and the other shareholders say they will do all they can to protect the business, which employs 1,233 people.

‘We herewith state our intention to use all possible legal bases to protect our business and, in doing so, support all private business of Lithuania which face the danger of forced nationalisation brought about by doubtful political and economical aims,’ the statement said.

‘In addition, we intend to continue to develop our international business, for which we have all the necessary financial resources and opportunities.’