Former owner of club Portsmouth FC admits stealing from bank Sovetsky

Former owner of club Portsmouth FC admits stealing from bank Sovetsky
Vladimir Antonov

Vladimir Antonov concluded a pre-trial agreement with the investigation.

Founder of the Konvers Group and former owner of the British football club Portsmouth Vladimir Antonov concluded a pre-trial agreement with the MIA investigation. Antonov pleaded guilty to the theft of about 15 million rubles ($224000), said his lawyer Igor Reshetnikov (overall, the case of the embezzlement is about 150 million rubles ($2.242 million)).

Antonov concluded a pre-trial agreement; officially it was signed the other day, Reshetnikov said. In this regard, the investigators petitioned the Vyborg District Court of St. Petersburg to send Antonov under house arrest. On August 15, the court rejected this petition, Antonov remained in the pretrial detention center.

A representative of the prosecutor's office objected the petition, and the court agreed with his arguments, Reshetnikov said. One of the arguments was that Antonov could hide abroad. The lawyer claims that it would have been difficult to his client to abscond abroad, since Lithuania succeeded in finding him through the Interpol wanted list as part of another investigation, and, being outside of Russia, Antonov would still be detained.

The pre-trial cooperation agreement (plea bargain) means that a person agrees with the prosecution and undertakes to provide the investigation with full and reliable information about the crime, including turning in all the accomplices. In exchange, he can count on punishment, the term of which does not exceed half the maximum for the strictest of the articles of the Criminal Code that are imputed to him.

It is to be recalled that Antonov was arrested in April; investigators of the St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region MIA accused him with fraud on an especially large scale (part 4 of Article 159 CCRF). The banker is accused of withdrawing funds from the bank Sovetsky, where a temporary administration was introduced in 2015.

Shortly before the close-down, Sovetsky issued a knowingly irrevocable loan of 150 million rubles to a company called Servis, which the investigation recognized a fly-by-night entity controlled by Antonov. In fact, the money was withdrawn, claimed the MIA.

Antonov was checked for involvement in the theft from a total of ten banks, including Baikal Bank, Russky Mezhdunarodny Bank (Russian International Bank) and AK Bank, the licenses of which are as of now revoked. In the withdrawal of funds, according to the MIA, a group of bankers was engaged. At the moment, we are talking only about the damage done to the bank Sovetsky, there are no other episodes in the case, lawyer Reshetnikov says.

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