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Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov wanted over £12m embezzlement

An international arrest warrant has been issued for Romanov as authorities want to speak to him about £12m embezzlement.

Vladimir Romanov:
© SNS Group

Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov is suspected of involvement in a large-scale embezzlement at Ukio Bankas, according to Lithuanian prosecutors.

Simonas Minkevicius, from the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office, told Baltic News Service an international arrest warrant was issued for Romanov last month.

Ukio Bankas, which Romanov was a majority shareholder of, was declared insolvent and had its banking licence removed by financial authorities in Lithuania in February.

A pre-trial investigation into possible suspect dealings at the bank was also launched, after the central bank handed prosecutors details of suspicious transactions between 2005 and 2012.

Lithuanian authorities want to question Romanov over the alleged embezzlement of 50m litas, which is around £12m.

Mr Minkevicius said: "Mr Romanov is a suspect in the case, he is suspected of large-scale embezzlement of Ukio Bankas assets. The suspect is yet to be interviewed, therefore his position on the incriminated actions is not known."

Vilma Mažonė, from the General Prosecutor‘s Office of Lithuania, told STV that Mr Romanov is facing up to seven years in jail on the embezzlement charge.

She said: "V. Romanov has been recognized as a suspect and is suspected of having squandered high-value property belonging to the bank Ūkio Bankas.

"We cannot state yet the exact value of the squandered property, as its amount has not been established yet. Laws of the Republic of Lithuania provide that a person who has committed the above mentioned criminal offence shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of up to seven years.

"As there were reasonable doubts regarding whereabouts of V. Romanov, on July 4th prosecutor passed the decision to announce a search for him; on the same day that decision was forwarded to the police for execution."

A spokesman for Hearts administrators BDO said Romanov’s future is unlikely to affect the administration process.

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