VILNIUS - The Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Jan. 20 announced that it approved Lithuania’s extradition request against Vladimir Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas, former owners of the bankrupt Snoras bank, reports ELTA. The journalists at Lithuania’s newspaper Respublika participated in the announcement of the court’s verdict.
The verdict announcing that banking magnates Anntonov and Baranauskas were to be handed over to Lithuania had the additional condition that Lithuania ensures that there will be no threat to the lives of Antonov or Baranauskas and that the pre-trail investigation related to Snoras is to be carried out objectively.
After the sitting, Baranauskas said to the journalist of Respublika that he was a little bit in shock and refused to comment of the court’s verdict.
Antonov and Baranauskas were fighting Lithuania’s bid to extradite them from the U.K. over claims of fraud and embezzlement at the troublesome credit institution Snoras. Both denied wrongdoing, claiming that the move to bankruptcy was a politically motivated campaign because of criticism coming from Antonov towards the Lithuanian government.
Both entrepreneurs are currently in London. They are accused of appropriation of the bank’s and its affiliated companies’ properties. Both were detained in the capital of Great Britain, and later released on bail.
Lithuania nationalized the bank on Nov. 16, 2011. Afterwards, the bank was declared bankrupt. Baranauskas and Antonov owned 25.31 percent and 68.1 percent, respectively, of the bank’s shares.