Russian businessman and former banker Vladimir Antonov is looking to set up a new banking group in the country, Vedomosti reported Aug. 1.
Antonov already took indirect control of Russian Investment Alliance Bank in January through his former business partners, the newspaper noted, adding that investors affiliated with the businessman could soon purchase another lender, JSC Russian International Bank.
Russian International Bank recently announced upcoming ownership changes, but its management board chairman, Bulad Subanov, denied information that the lender could be acquired by entities tied to Antonov, the news report said.
Antonov is unlikely to purchase any Russian banking assets directly, as the central bank would not approve such a deal, according to the newspaper. The regulator has no formal complaints against the investor but does not perceive him as a suitable bank owner due to his past activities, Vedomosti said.
Antonov is the former owner of Russia-based Investbank, which he sold in 2011. Two years later, the central bank revoked the lender's license. The businessman was also the co-owner of Lithuania-based AB Bankas SNORAS, which was nationalized by local authorities in 2011, as was the Latvian unit of Snoras, Latvijas krajbanka.
Antonov and another Snoras Bank shareholder, Raimondas Baranauskas, have been accused by Lithuanian authorities of embezzling €565 million from the bank. In 2014, a U.K. court approved the extradition of Antonov to Lithuania, but in 2015 media outlets reported that Antonov had left the U.K. and was hiding in Russia, Vedomosti noted.