Extradition hearing of London banker and former football club owner to begin

07:19 26 September 2013

A London-based banker and former owner of a football club is due to appear in court today for the start of his extradition hearing.

Russian Vladimir Antonov, 37, and his Lithuanian business partner Raimondas Baranauskas, 55, are wanted in Lithuania in connection with an alleged multimillion-pound fraud at a bank formerly controlled by Antonov.

The banker bought Portsmouth FC in June 2011 but was forced to stand down as chairman in November that year when his Convers Sports Initiatives company went into administration.

Lithuanian prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant for Antonov and Baranauskas in November 2011 after naming them as the main suspects in a pre-trial investigation into how hundreds of millions of pounds in assets were allegedly stripped from Snoras Bank.

Lawyers representing Antonov have previously told Westminster Magistrates’ Court that they will argue that conditions in Lithuanian prisons are so bad that no-one should be sent there under a European arrest warrant.

At least 21 witnesses are expected to be called, including a number of experts, District Judge John Zani was told at a hearing in January.

Antonov and Baranauskas, who are both fighting extradition, are on conditional bail.

Their full extradition hearing is expected to last nearly two weeks.

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