Lithuania seeks to extradite former Ukio bankas owner from Russia

By bne IntelliNews August 6, 2013

bne -

Lithuanian prosecutors announced on August 5 that an arrest warrant has been issued for Vladimir Romanov, the former owner of Ukio bankas, over alleged bank fraud. However, Vilnius is likely to struggle to get Moscow to hand him over.

"Romanov is suspected of squandering Ukio bankas' high-value property," Vilma Mazone, spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, told AFP. She declined to elaborate, but prosecutors had earlier said they were probing suspicious loans and leases as well as claims of huge payouts to people linked to the bank's leadership.

Mazone said the prosecutor ordered a search In July amid doubts over Romanov's whereabouts, before turning to the police for help. Russian-born Romanov - who also holds Lithuanian citizenship - faces up to seven years in prison if found guilty.

Simonas Minkevicius, of the Lithuanian prosecutor general's office, told Baltic News Service on August 5 that the call for the international search was made about four weeks ago. The move came "immediately after a procedural framework emerged" he added. "Mr Romanov is a suspect in the case, he is suspected of large-scale embezzlement of Ukio Bankas assets," Minkevicius said. 'The suspect is yet to be interviewed, therefore his position on the incriminated actions is not known."

Herald Scotland reports that Romanov, who is also the former owner of Edinburgh football club Heart of Midlothian is believed to be in Moscow, and that Lithuanian prosecutors and investigators from the country's financial crime investigation service had received a document from Russian doctors about three months ago saying he had suffered a stroke. According to the newspaper, the prosecutors want to talk to Romanov about LTL50m (€14.5m) in missing assets from Ukio. The central bank said earlier this year that Ukio's assets are worth LTL1.2bn less than its liabilities.

Under international procedures, Russian officials have to identify Romanov's whereabouts and provide information to Lithuanian prosecutors. However, reports suggest there is concern among Lithuanian officials over Romanov's citizenship status, with Russia rarely open to extradition requests. More to the point, perhaps, it has been claimed that the rogue banker is being protected in Moscow by people connected to Ramzan Kadyrov, the powerful president of Chechnya, behind whom stands President Vladimir Putin.

Stung by the costs to the state of previous bank collapses - the latest being Snoras in November 2011 - the Bank of Lithuania moved swiftly once it sniffed real trouble at Ukio in January. Jumping on an inspection report that described risky loans to related parties and capital ratios below legal limits, the regulator had suspended operations and installed a temporary administrator by February 12.

By early March, it had agreed to sell the good assets to the EBRD-backed Siauliu bankas, a deal on which the final paperwork was completed on May 2. An application to start bankruptcy proceedings was announced on April 18.

Romanov also controlled the Kaunas-based investment firm Ukio Banko Investicine Grupe (UBIG). Lithuanian courts have also opened bankruptcy proceedings against UBIG.

Related Articles

Drum rolls in the great disappearing act of Russia's banks

Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Russian banks are disappearing at the fastest rate ever as the country's deepening recession makes it easier for the central bank to expose money laundering, dodgy lending ... more

Kremlin: No evidence in Olympic doping allegations against Russia

bne IntelliNews - The Kremlin supported by national sports authorities has brushed aside "groundless" allegations of a mass doping scam involving Russian athletes after the World Anti-Doping Agency ... more

PROFILE: Day of reckoning comes for eccentric owner of Russian bank Uralsib

Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Revelations and mysticism may have been the stock-in-trade of Nikolai Tsvetkov’s management style, but ultimately they didn’t help him to hold on to his ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or 12 months full access inc. Magazine and Weekly Newspaper for just $119/year.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

Thank you for purchasing a bne IntelliNews subscription. We look forward to serving you as one of our paid subscribers. An email confirmation will be sent to the email address you have provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. The confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.