Lithuanian banker fails to show up at extradition hearing in London court

Vladimir Antonov

Another former shareholder, Raimondas Baranauskas, showed up in the courtroom as his six-strong team of lawyers sought to convince the court that the bankruptcy of Snoras, which led to the bank’s nationalization, was a conspiracy thoroughly planned by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, allegedly due to Antonov’s Russian background and the bank’s links with Russia, the news service of LNK TV reported on Wednesday night.

Baranauskas told the court that he would not be given a fair trial in Lithuania due to his left-wing social democratic views and the permanent criticism of the President in the Lietuvos Rytas, the leading Lithuanian daily previously owned by Snoras.

Rita Stundienė, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General’s Office, earlier told BNS that the hearing would continue in three days. She could not say if the court would issue its ruling.

In January 2014, Antonov and Baranauskas appealed the ruling by Judge John Zani of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, who decided in favour of extraditing the two men at the request of the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office.

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office has issued a European arrest warrant for Antonov and Baranauskas, who are suspected of misappropriating about 1.7 billion litas (EUR 493m) of Snoras’ assets.

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