Lithuania: Romanov, 12 other people suspected of squandering Ukio Bankas' assets

  • 2020-01-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Vladimir Romanov, Ukio Bankas' former majority shareholder, and 12 other people are suspected of squandering over 40 million euros in assets of the Lithuanian bank that collapsed seven years ago, prosecutors confirmed on Tuesday. 

Thirteen people are suspects in the pre-trial investigation into a large-scale squandering of Ukio Bankas' assets, Ugnius Vycinas of the Criminal Prosecution Department at the Prosecutor General's Office said.  

"In the investigation, suspicions have been brought against 13 persons. They are suspected of acting as an organized group. (The suspects) include the bank's majority shareholder (Romanov) as well as former members of the bank's supervisory and management boards," he said at a news conference.  

Based on the latest estimates, they are suspected of squandering assets worth over 40 million euros, Robert Sadianec, the head of the Special Task Board at the Financial Crimes Investigation Service (FNTT), said.  

"The suspects abused their office to give bank loans to companies under their control and thus squandered over 40 million euros," he said at the press conference. 

According to the official, the illegitimate funds were laundered via the accounts of 80 legal and natural persons and used to purchase real estate. A part of the money was used to increase the authorized share capital of a Belarusian-registered company. 

In another Ukio Bankas-related case that is yet to be concluded, the amount of damage is still being assessed, but prosecutors believe that the estimate will be "many times greater" than in the squandering case.  

According to Vycinas, the squandering case is planned to be sent to a court for trial this year. Romanov, who is hiding in Russia, is the only suspect in the case who is out of reach for Lithuanian law-enforcement.  

Prosecutors say the assets of all suspects are being seized and will likely be sufficient to cover the damage in the case.

Romanov, who held 65 percent of shares in Ukio Bankas, fled to Russia in May 2013. He was detained in Moscow on an international arrest warrant in April 2015, but was soon released. Russia informed Lithuania in August of that year that it had granted Romanov asylum.

In June 2018, a Vilnius court gave the green light for putting Romanov on trial in absentia.