VILNIUS– Lithuanian Prosecutor General Darius Valys has signed a European arrest warrant for the former shareholders of Lithuanian bank Snoras, Vladimir Antonov (pictured) and Raimondas Baranauskas.
Both former Snoras bank owners were named suspects in the case on large-scale misappropriation of assets and document forgery, while Baranauskas is also suspected of fraudulent bookkeeping and authority abuse.
According to the Lithuaniannewspaper Respublika, Vladimir Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas are currently in the U.K. Both men claimed that they will not leave the country.
Baranauskassaid that he is feared to return to Lithuania and does not rule out requesting political asylum in the U.K.
“I think I really need to consider it seriously,” Baranauskas told the paper, when askedwhether he would seek political asylum.
Antonov and Baranauskas reportedly turned in their passports to London’s municipality and claim that they will not attempt to leave the country.
Last week Snoras was nationalized by Lithuania after regulators shut down the bank for gross irregularities in the bank’s operations.
Within days Latvijas Krajbanka, which is 60 percent owned by Snoras, came under suspicion for similar irregularities – including asset-stripping – and late Monday regulators announced that they were taking over the bank.
Latvian prosecutors have opened an investigation, and Antonov has been classified a suspect in the case. A decision is expected soon as to whether Latvian authorities will issue a warrant for his arrest.
The Latvian daily Diena reported that Antonov, a 36-year-old businessman from Russia, faces up to 10 years imprisonment in Lithuania and a three year sentence in Latvia.
Latvian State Police Chief Ints Kuzis said earlier this week that the assets missing from Latvijas Krajbanka total some 100 million lats, while the amount missing from Snoras could be up to 1 billion litas, if not more.