LONDON, March 22 - RAPSI. The Westminster Magistrates Court in London has postponed on Thursday the hearing of the case on the extradition of Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov and his business partner Raimondas Baranauskas to Lithuania. The prosecution has more time to prepare documents.
The businessmen have been accused of embezzling the funds of the Snoras bank.
It was initially planned that the preliminary hearings were to be held on March 22-23, and the primary hearings were scheduled to be held from June 8-15. However, the prosecution cited a number of difficulties while preparing the materials and requested additional time until April 20. The prosecution also proposed holding the preliminary hearings before the primary hearings.
Antonov and Baranauskas were detained in November upon the request of the Lithuanian authorities.
The Lithuanian Prosecutor's Office seeks to interrogate them over their involvement in a large-scale assets theft from Snoras bank, forgery and fraudulent accounting.
Both businessmen have been accused of embezzling about 220 million pounds.
Antonov and Raimondas stood trial for the first time in December. The court then released Antonov on a 75,000 pound bail.
Renowned British lawyer James Lewis represents Antonov in the UK court. In 2003, Lewis was involved in the extradition of self-exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky on behalf of the UK Prosecutor's Office and Russian authorities.
The lawyers engaged in the case assume that the proceeding will be long and complicated taking into account the "strange circumstances" of the Snoras bank nationalization process.
Snoras is a part of the Convers Group, owned by Antonov. The Convers Group has a 68.1 percent stake in the bank and Baranauskas owns a 25.3 percent share. The Lithuanian government nationalized Snoras in November, accusing it of committing illegal activities.