The Lithuanian Tribune claim that Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov and once shareholder of the now financially stricken Ūkio Bankas is alleged to have embezzled around £12.3 million from the bank.
And with Romanov’s failure to attend a scheduled interview by the Lithuanian Financial Crime Investigation Service [FCIS], the Hearts owner could see a European arrest warrant issued out on him if he does not return to the Baltic state soon.
The FCIS and the Prosecutor’s Office, ‘expressed suspicions’ of Romanov’s embezzlement of around 50 million LTL [£12.3 million] on 29th April 2013.
With the first interview scheduled for the 2nd May, Romanov reportedly fled to Moscow on 30th April and has not returned to the country since with a spokesperson citing the businessman suffered a heart attack in the Russian capital and was admitted to hospital.
It is also reported that Romanov is being protected by bodyguards loyal to Ramzan Kadyrov – the president of the Republic of Chechnya. Kadyrov has been President since 2007 after Russian President Vladimir Putin installed the former Chechen rebel into power.
Kadyrov is a controversial figure and has been implicated in a number of human rights violations, along with being suspected in the murders of opposition members and witnesses both at home and abroad. This included journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a veteran Russian reporter who was murdered in 2006, while working on an article allegedly revealing human rights abuses and incidents of torture in Chechnya.
Meanwhile, Hearts have announced that they are in need of increased season ticket sales if they are to make it through the latest in a long line of cash crisis’ to hit the beleaguered Edinburgh side.
It is reported that the Tynecastle side have came a cropper with HMRC once again, with an outstanding bill of £100,000 due. The PAYE settlement was due on Monday, but the club have been given a week’s grace to find the funds otherwise they will be served with a winding up order.
The Tynecastle club have again incurred the ire of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs due to an outstanding bill of £100,000. The PAYE settlement had been due on Monday and the club now have a week to raise the necessary finance or be served with a winding up order.
A statement on the official Hearts website read: “We are in dialogue with HMRC and expect to make the payment in the very near future.”