Portsmouth chief Vladimir Antonov arrested in bank probe

Vladimir Antonov Vladimir Antonov denies any wrongdoing

The owner of Portsmouth Football Club, Vladimir Antonov, has been arrested in an inquiry into asset stripping.

Lithuanian prosecutors want to question him as part of an investigation into claims involving Snoras Bank.

They are also seeking his business partner Raimondas Baranauskas. Both are former managers and shareholders of the bank and deny any wrongdoing.

Portsmouth FC said its business operations were unaffected and its day-to-day operations "carry on as normal".

City of London Police said: "In response to a Europe-wide arrest warrant officers arrested a 36-year-old man in London this afternoon."

Snoras Bank went into temporary administration last week and on Tuesday Latvian authorities suspended the operations of another of Antonov's banks, Krajbanka.

'Business as usual'

A court in Lithuania granted the request by the prosecutor general's office on Tuesday and a pre-trial investigation into alleged fraud and money laundering has begun.

In a statement, the prosecutors said: "Both former managers of the bank Snoras have been recognised as suspects with regard to misappropriation of property on a large scale and forgery of documents.

"Prosecutor General Mr D Valys signed European arrest warrants issued against these persons."

Mr Baranauskas also held the posts of the chairman of the bank board and president.

Mr Antonov owns 68% of Bankas Snoras and an administrator has been appointed to assess its financial position.

The Russian businessman is the backer of Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) which owns Portsmouth FC.

Last week CSI released a statement saying: "In the light of the recent events at Snoras Bank, Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) would like to reassure its companies, staff, and the fans of its teams and events, that it remains very much business as usual."

In February 2010, Portsmouth became the first Premier League club to be placed into administration and CSI completed its takeover of the Championship side in June 2011.

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