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Antonov borrowed money for "airBaltic" from VTB bank

Vladimir Antonov.
 RIGA, Dec 7 - Former "Latvijas Krajbanka" co-owner Vladimir Antonov last year borrowed money meant for the national airline "airBaltic" from the Austrian offices of VTB, a bank controlled by the Russian government, putting up deposits in the Lithuanian bank "Snoras" as security, newspaper "Dienas Bizness" reports today quoting materials in the case it has obtained from a London court.

EUR 25 million reached the troubled "airBaltic" in 2011 via various offshore companies that were controlled by Antonov. One of these was "Taurus Asset Management Fund Limited", formerly the holder of a 50 percent stake in "Baltijas aviacijas sistemas", a shareholder in "airBaltic".

"Latvijas Krajbanka" was banned from lending money "airBaltic" at that time because it had already exceeded the permissible crediting level.

The State Police have opened a criminal process on bankrupting "Latvijas Krajbanka", where Antonov, the bank's former president Ivars Prieditis and former board members Dzintars Pelcbergs and Martins Zalans have the status of suspects. The authorities last year also detained the bank's former board member Svetlana Ovcinnikova, also a suspect in the criminal case.

The suspects' properties, including abroad, have been arrested, and investigators continue work in order to establish every suspect's role in the affair.

Former bank "Snoras" managers and owners Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas' properties in Lithuania have also been arrested. Westminster Magistrates' Court will decide on January 21 whether to extradite the two to Lithuania.

Baranauskas was "Snoras" CEO, whereas Antonov was chairman of the "Snoras" council; they had a 25.31 percent and 68.1 percent interests in "Snoras" respectively. "Snoras" was the largest shareholder in "Latvijas Krajbanka".

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