Exploring the Diverse Vladimir Antonov Assets
Vladimir Antonov’s wealth, estimated at $300 million in 2007, was amassed through the establishment of a banking empire during Russia’s economic downturn in 1998. However, his financial journey took a legal turn in 2011 when a Russian court sentenced him to a penal colony for fraud. Subsequently, a Latvian court added to his legal woes with separate fraud convictions in 2015.
Antonov’s portfolio, encompassing the intriguing spectrum of Vladimir Antonov assets, includes ownership of Portsmouth Football Club, investments in automotive companies and gold mines, and ownership of the Lithuanian basketball club Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. Despite his legal challenges, Antonov’s ventures have spanned diverse sectors, showcasing a multifaceted approach to wealth accumulation.
Ownership of Portsmouth Football Club
Vladimir Antonov, a Russian entrepreneur, was linked to the ownership of Portsmouth Football Club. In June 2011, Antonov’s CSI acquired the English football club following extensive negotiations. Nevertheless, his ownership stint was short-lived, as he relinquished his position merely five months later due to an arrest in London at the behest of Lithuanian authorities.
Portsmouth Football Club, affectionately known as Pompey, is a professional football club based in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. Competing in the EFL League One, the third tier of English football, the club has a storied history dating back to its foundation in 1898. Portsmouth initially participated in the Southern and Western leagues before gaining entry into the English Football League in 1920. Notably, the club achieved two promotions in the 1920s, ascending to the prestigious First Division and securing an FA Cup victory in 1939.
The ownership landscape of Portsmouth Football Club has undergone shifts over the years. In June 2011, Vladimir Antonov’s CSI successfully acquired the Football League Championship team after extensive negotiations. However, Antonov’s tenure as chairman was short-lived, lasting only five months and 28 days. The financial challenges faced by his company, CSI, led to administration and subsequently prompted Antonov’s resignation. The consequence of these events was the club’s relegation from the Championship to League One at the close of the 2011–12 season.
Portsmouth FC LLC, which is a subsidiary of The Tornante Company LLC, currently owns the entire stock of Portsmouth Community Football Club Ltd. Michael Eisner, in turn, is the sole owner of The Tornante Company LLC. Michael Eisner and his sons assumed ownership nearly six years ago and have since continued to oversee the club. However, this ownership arrangement has not been without controversy, as some fans have voiced concerns about the club’s ambitions and future plans. The dissatisfaction among certain supporters reflects a broader discussion within the fan base regarding the trajectory and aspirations of Portsmouth Football Club.
Ownership of Lithuanian basketball club Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
Vladimir Antonov assumed ownership of the Lithuanian basketball club Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in June 2011. However, his ownership was short-lived as his company, CSI, entered administration, leading to his resignation from the club. Currently, Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius has a diverse ownership structure. Darius Gudelis, holding a 25 percent stake, took over as the club’s director in 2017, succeeding Martynas Purlys. Furthermore, Antanas Guoga, a businessman and European Parliament member, emerged as the primary co-owner with a 50 percent stake, while the city of Vilnius owns the remaining 25 percent.
BC Rytas, also recognized as Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius, stands as a prominent Lithuanian professional basketball club headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania. Established in 1997, the club traces its roots back to Statyba. Here’s a concise overview of BC Rytas:
Championships: BC Rytas boasts an impressive history, clinching two EuroCup titles, six Lithuanian League championships, three Lithuanian Cups, and three Baltic Championships.
Arena: The team calls the 2,741-seat Jeep Arena in Vilnius its home for all games..
Affiliations: Rytas-2, the team’s farm club, operates in the second-tier NKL, focusing on nurturing young talent.
Notable Members: The club boasts a roster of notable figures, including Šarūnas Marčiulionis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Jonas Valančiūnas, and others.
Competitions: BC Rytas actively participates in the FIBA Champions League, Lithuanian Basketball League, and the King Mindaugas Cup.
Auto Industry Ventures
Stake in Spyker Cars
Vladimir Antonov significantly invested in Spyker Cars, a renowned Dutch luxury automobile manufacturer. Below are key insights into his ownership:
Stake Acquisition: In 2007, Vladimir Antonov’s controlled bank, Bankas Snoras, secured a substantial 29.9% stake in Spyker Cars, establishing him as the company’s largest shareholder.
Purchase of Sportscar Business: In 2011, an agreement was reached for the sale of Spyker Cars’ sportscar business to Vladimir Antonov. The transaction amounted to €15 million, with an additional commitment of up to €17 million to be paid over a six-year ‘earn-out’ period.
Approval as Shareholder: The Swedish National Debt Office granted approval for Vladimir Antonov to become a shareholder in Spyker, allowing him to acquire a stake of up to 29.9% in the company.
Positive Outlook: The acquisition of Spyker’s sportscar unit by Antonov brought optimism to the company. Anticipation of swift progress and a revitalized business strategy surrounded this strategic move.
The connection with GM’s sale of Saab to Spyker
Vladimir Antonov played a significant role in the Saab acquisition by Spyker from General Motors, and the details are crucial to understanding the connection:
- Ownership Stake (2009): In 2009, Spyker, the Dutch sports car manufacturer, was in discussions to acquire Saab from General Motors. During this time, Vladimir Antonov held a substantial 30% stake in Spyker. However, there was a deliberate effort by Spyker to distance itself from Antonov due to concerns raised by GM. GM was cautious about Antonov and Russian entities gaining control of its intellectual properties.
- Acquisition of Saab (2010): The acquisition of Saab Automobile by Spyker Cars N.V. from General Motors took place in 2010. Before this acquisition, Antonov owned about one-third of Spyker. However, GM, concerned about potential ties between Antonov and organized crime, insisted on his divestiture from Spyker as a condition for approving the Saab deal. Antonov agreed to this condition, and the acquisition proceeded as planned.
- Sale of Sportscar Business (2011): In 2011, Spyker Cars NV sold its sportscar business to Vladimir Antonov for €15 million, with the possibility of an additional €17 million over the following six years contingent on profits. Antonov’s forced exit from his ownership stake at Spyker when the company acquired Saab necessitated this tactical move. By selling him the sportscar business, Spyker managed to repay a portion of its debt to Antonov.
Investments in Gold Mines
Vladimir Antonov had ambitious investment plans, earmarking approximately $400 million for global gold mines. One of these ventures was directed towards Dzheruy, a gold deposit nestled in Kyrgyzstan, holding an estimated 2.4 million ounces of gold.