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Saab backer Antonov released on bail

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Saab backer Antonov released on bail
09:31 CET+01:00
Russian financier and former Saab-speculator Vladimir Antonov was released on bail by a British court on Friday, following his arrest in London on suspicion of fraud.

Antonov, who was detained along with his Lithuanian business partner Raimondas Baranuskas, refused to answer questions from journalists after being freed

Despite protests from the Lithuanian Prosecutor General, the court agreed with Antonov lawyer's statement that there is no flight risk, because the financier owns houses in London and lives there with his wife and two children, Aftonbladet reports.

Antonov is accused of embezzling the reserves of his Snoras Bank, which the Bank of Lithuania has allowed to go bankrupt. This is turn, has potentially serious consequences for the economies in both Lithuania and Latvia.

The Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis had planned to meet his Lithuanian colleague Andrius Kubilius in Vilnius to discuss ways of avoiding the collapse, but cancelled his trip on hearing the news of the bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, negotiations on the possible extradition of Antonov to Lithuania will continue on December 16th.

Officials said on Wednesday that the money allegedly embezzled from the bank was intended to buy a stake in Saab and indirectly, Antonov is still a financier of Saab Automobile.

Victor Muller confirmed in a text message to TV 4 News West that Antonov lent money to Muller's company Tenaci in February 2010. Muller used these funds for the purchase of Saab and to bail out Spyker loans from Antonov's bank.

Muller added though, that the loan was not directly given to either Saab or Spyker.

"Since then there have been no financial ties between Vladimir Antonov and Saab / Spyker / Swan," Muller wrote in the text.

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