An extradition hearing for the Russian former owner of Portsmouth Football Club has been adjourned for six months. Lithuanian authorities want to extradite Vladimir Antonov in connection with an alleged multimillion-pound fraud at a bank he used to control.
The case will now be heard on the 8th July at Westminster Magistrates Court in London. Today District Judge John Zani told Vladimir Antonov, 37, and his Lithuanian business partner Raimondas Baranauskas, 55: "It's very unfortunate that this case can't start today, it is through no-one's fault...
"I was very anxious to keep this date, because I always think that extraditions should progress quickly, so that you know your fate, whether an order will be made or not. But, unfortunately, we can't deal with it today."
The judge was told that at least 21 witnesses are expected to be called, including experts.
Vladimir Antonov purchased Portsmouth Football Club in June 2011, but was forced to stand down as chairman in November 2011 when his Convers Sports Initiatives company went into administration.
Lithuanian prosecutors named Antonov and Baranauskas as the main suspects in a pre-trial investigation into how hundreds of millions of pounds in assets were allegedly stripped from Snoras Bank. The two men are fighting the extradition and did not comment after the hearing. Their conditional bail was renewed.
During today's hearing, James Lewis QC, representing Vladimir Antonov told the court he was hoping to call a Professor Morgan who was an expert on conditions in Lithuanian prisons. A judge in Northern Ireland has recently ruled that prison conditions in Lithuania were so bad that no-one could be sent there under a European arrest warrant. The QC told District Judge Zani: "We are hoping to have Mr Morgan assist you on this particular point.".