VILNIUS - In the first year after the Snoras bank creditors’ meeting, where efforts are continuing, the bankruptcy administrator’s team has recovered 530 million litas (153 million euros) from the bank’s assets, reports ELTA. These funds are available to be paid out to Snoras creditors, says the Annual Report by bankruptcy administrator Neil Cooper for the period to June 30, 2013.
The bankruptcy administrator successfully sold off the network of Snoras mini-banks, which realized 3.1 million litas. Since the end of the period, a sale of the bank’s subsidiary Snoro Lizingas and its loan portfolio were completed, realizing 74 million litas. An agreement has also been reached for the sale of Snoras Media shares, where the deal will be completed once certain conditions have been met, including securing the approval of the Competition Council.
Following the approval of the Creditors’ Committee, the process of selling real estate previously owned by the bank and foreclosed on, which is valued at 185 million litas, began and negotiations are continuing with potential buyers of Finasta bank.
The Bankruptcy Administrator, Neil Cooper, said that “I believe that we have made excellent progress in the bankruptcy [process] during this period. Considering the complexity of the situation, the international distribution of assets and the extensive network of transactions put in place by the former shareholders to divert funds from the bank, we have recovered a substantial amount of funds for creditors. I also remain confident that our continued efforts will result in further significant recoveries in the future.”
According to Cooper, current outstanding legal claims of 2.4 billion litas are being pursued in order to seek the recovery of funds and assets of the bank from its former shareholders and related persons and funds. These recovery actions remain supported by a worldwide freezing order to a value of 1.7 billion litas, which was previously secured by the Bankruptcy Administrator against the assets of one of the former Snoras shareholders.
The administrator’s team also managed to investigate and unravel a structure of asset transfers in which loans with a realizable value of 180 million litas were transferred to funds registered in the Cayman and British Virgin Islands. By the middle of the year, the loans had been transferred back to Snoras and 73 million litas had been recovered for Snoras creditors; and further funds continue to be recovered by the Bankruptcy Administrator.
The proceedings against Julius Baer bank continue in Switzerland to seek to recover 829 million litas of misappropriated assets from Snoras.
The Bankruptcy Administrator’s team has continued active monitoring of the bank’s loan portfolio. Since the start of bankruptcy, 876 million litas in outstanding loans and interest has been repaid, including 371.8 million litas in the period concerned.
In total, creditors have filed over 28,500 claims against the bankrupt bank and as of June 30, the court had approved 17,167 of them. The total amount of funds claimed is 6.7 billion litas. By the end of the first half of this year, first-rank creditors (employees of the bank) have been paid 9.3 million litas. Funds are available for payments to second-rank creditors but payments can only start after completion of legal proceedings instigated by certain creditors contesting the ranking of creditor claims.
Since the declaration of bankruptcy, the administrator has continued to reduce the number of bank staff, from 1,385 to 139, in several phases. All non-essential services have been reviewed in order to minimize the winding-down costs.
The total costs of running the bankrupt bank made up 35.0 million litas in the period concerned. These costs reduced by over 40 percent in the period from 10.9 million litas between July and September 2012, to 6.4 million litas in the second quarter of this year. Total annual costs, including all operational and professional costs, stood at approximately 124 million litas.
The bank’s former owners, Vladimir Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas, are out of reach of the Lithuanian justice system, reportedly residing in the comfort and protection of the UK. Lithuania’s prosecutor continues to work to bring them back to face trial after their allegedly fraudulent running of the bank ran it into bankruptcy.