English football club owner in court over Lithuania warrant

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A Russian businessman who owns Portsmouth Football Club appeared in a British court on Friday to hear that Lithuania was trying to secure his extradition over a troubled bank.

Vladimir Antonov, 36, is wanted in Lithuania as part of a probe into the activities of Bankas Snoras, of which he is a majority shareholder.

Antonov and his business partner, Raimondas Baranauskas, 53, were arrested on Thursday on a European arrest warrant issued by Lithuania.

The extradition hearing at City of Westminster magistrates court in London was opened and adjourned until December 16.

Both men said they did not agree to being extradited.

Judge Caroline Tubbs told the men they would be released on conditional bail.

Antonov must provide a surety of £75,000 (87,000 euros, $115,000) and must report to a London police station three times a week.

The conditions of Baranauskas's bail were still being discussed.

Bankas Snoras, a Lithuanian bank, went into temporary administration last week, triggering a pre-trial investigation into claims of fraud and money laundering.

Antonov, who owns 68 percent of Snoras's shares, is the backer of Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), which owns English Championship strugglers Portsmouth.

The club, which won the FA Cup in 2008 before suffering a fall from grace that ended with it entering administration in 2010, said on Thursday its day-to-day operations would "carry on as normal."

© 2011 AFP

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