Russian Oligarchs

Vladimir Antonov: Biography of Russian Investor and Banker

Vladimir Antonov, born in 1975, is a Russian banker, entrepreneur, and investor. His career spans various roles in the financial sector, including chairman positions in international financial groups and banks. Antonov’s ventures extend beyond banking, encompassing ownership of a Dutch luxury automobile manufacturer, involvement in the automotive industry, and engagement in sports initiatives.

Early Life and Background

Life of Vladimir Antonov
Life of Vladimir Antonov

Born in 1975, Vladimir Antonov graduated from the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics in 1996. His early career involved roles in corporate banking and financial operations at institutions like Sberbank and Lefko-Bank.

Career Beginnings

In 1999, Antonov, along with Alexander Antonov, purchased 49% of shares in the struggling Academchimbank. Reports suggest that Academchimbank was focused on money laundering and encashment at the time of the Antonovs’ arrival.

Antonov’s Strategic Intervention in 1999

In 1999, he utilized his initial seed capital to purchase the troubled Akademkhimbank, which was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy due to a liquidity crisis resulting from the 1998 financial turmoil in Russia.

Recognizing the opportunity to provide short-term liquidity and implement necessary changes for business expansion, Antonov aimed to attract new depositors, enhance efficiency and management, institute significant IT reforms, revamp structure and processes, and elevate compliance standards and internal controls.

Business Ventures

Career Progression
Career Progression

Vladimir Antonov‘s career progressed with positions at AIB Academchimbank, Convers Group, Incorion Investment Holding Company, Bazis-2000, and Dekabank. In 2004, he became the chairman of the Supervisory Board of Convers Group.


Since 2004, Vladimir Antonov has served as the chairman of the Supervisory Board of the International Financial Group Convers Group. Conversbank Financial Group, founded in 1989 and based in Moscow, operates as a financial and banking company in Europe, offering services for non-residents of the Russian Federation.

Bankas Snoras

Until November 2011, Antonov was the main shareholder and chairman of the Lithuanian bank, Bankas Snoras. The bank has faced controversy, including allegations of misleading information and the possession of nonexistent offshore assets. In 2011, the Lithuanian government nationalized 100% of Snora’s shares, and the bank is under criminal investigation.

Investment Bank

Until March 2011, Antonov served as the First Deputy Chairman of Investbank, which resulted from a merger with Grankombank, Voronezhprombank, and Conversbank in April 2008. Investbank operates closely with affiliated financial structures in Russia and abroad.

Banco Transatlantico

Antonov owns a controlling stake in Banco Transatlantico (formerly Griffon Bank), headquartered in Dominica. He sold his 85.15% stake in December 2011, and the bank collapsed shortly after his arrest.

Spyker Cars

Automobile manufacturer Spyker Cars
Automobile manufacturer Spyker Cars

In 2007, Bankas Snoras acquired 29.9% of Dutch luxury automobile manufacturer Spyker Cars, making Vladimir Antonov its largest shareholder. His interest in Spyker Cars faced allegations of delaying the purchase of Saab Automobile. Investigations into connections with organized crime and money laundering led to his family’s exclusion from the automobile manufacturer.

Details of Spyker Cars

Vladimir Antonov played a pivotal role in the 2011 acquisition of Spyker Cars NV’s sports car business. As a former chairman and stakeholder of Spyker, Antonov acquired the sports car division for €15 million, with an additional commitment of up to €17 million over the subsequent six years, contingent upon the business achieving profits.

Before the transaction, Antonov already held a significant 29.9% stake in Spyker. The situation became more intricate when General Motors insisted that he divest his stake as a prerequisite for approving the Saab sale to Spyker. Subsequently, the Swedish National Debt Office granted approval for Antonov to become a shareholder in Spyker. This approval included his maximum investment of €30 million in Saab, a subsidiary of Spyker Cars, in exchange for a stake of up to 29.9% in the overall company.

Key milestones in the career progression of Vladimir Antonov

1975Vladimir Antonov was born
1996Graduated from Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics
1999Purchased 49% of shares in Academchimbank with Alexander Antonov
1999Acquired troubled Akademkhimbank, implemented reforms
2004Became Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Convers Group
2004Assumed the role of Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Conversbank
2011Lithuanian government nationalized Bankas Snoras; Antonov was investigated
2011Spyker Cars was acquired in 29.9% by Bankas Snoras, making Antonov its largest shareholder
2011Spyker Cars was acquired 29.9% by Bankas Snoras, making Antonov its largest shareholder
2011Sold controlling stake in Banco Transatlantico
2011In December, Antonov sold his 85.15% stake in Banco Transatlantico
2011December, Antonov sold his 85.15% stake in Banco Transatlantico
2011Banco Transatlantico collapsed shortly after Antonov’s arrest

Acquisition of Executive Sports Ltd. by Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) and Antonov’s Involvement

In the vernal month of March 2011, an official proclamation surfaced, unveiling the acquisition of Executive Sports Ltd. (ESL), the progenitor entity overseeing the esteemed ‘Leaders in Football’ symposium, by Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI).

In the month of June of the same year, CSI, under Antonov’s aegis, consummated the procurement of the Football League Championship ensemble, Portsmouth, following an extended period of negotiations.

Vladimir Antonov articulated a blueprint for the erection of a novel stadium in Portsmouth’s future, contingent upon the club’s exigency for football enhancement. His chairmanship concluded on the 29th of November, coinciding with the plunge of Convers Sports Initiatives into administrative turmoil, leaving the club bereft of ownership.

The club subsequently faced administration and a winding-up petition from HMRC, which cited arrears exceeding £1.6 million in taxes. The adjudication of this matter on the 20th of February led to an automatic 10-point deduction.

Concomitant with Portsmouth’s descent into administration, the Football League issued a rebuke against Antonov, alleging the duplicitous misguidance of their regulatory authorities.

In a retort, Vladimir Antonov championed his tenure at Portsmouth, ascribing his tribulations to the Lithuanian government. As the curtain fell on the season, Portsmouth found themselves relegated to League One (the tertiary echelon), marking the inaugural instance in three decades that the club would compete at such a stratum.

Controversies and Challenges in Personal Life

Vladimir Antonov has faced numerous controversies, including allegations of stripping assets from Snoras Bank and accusations related to Saab’s acquisition. The Swedish monetary agency and security police allegedly found connections between Antonov’s family and organized crime, leading to investigations and the delay of business deals.


Arrest of Vladimir
Arrest of Vladimir

On November 23, 2011, a Europe-wide arrest warrant was issued for Antonov in connection with alleged asset stripping at Snoras Bank. He was arrested in London on November 24, 2011, and extradition proceedings followed.

Details of Arrest

On the 23rd of November in 2011, a continent-spanning arrest warrant was issued for Vladimir Antonov concerning an inquiry into alleged asset depletion at Snoras Bank, orchestrated by Lithuanian prosecutors. Antonov found himself apprehended in London on November 24, where he vehemently disavowed any misconduct. The subsequent day, November 25, 2011, witnessed his presence at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, culminating in the confiscation of his holdings.

Asserting on his Facebook Page, Antonov portrayed himself as a casualty of political machinations. Despite the postponement of his extradition until January, the anticipation lingered for a comprehensive extradition hearing in July 2012. Nevertheless, complications arose with expert testimonies, prompting the court session’s rescheduling to January 21, 2013—an eventuality deferred further to July 2013.

Come September 2013, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court disclosed that Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas had offered fraudulent documentation to the Lithuanian central bank to mask their undertakings between 2008 and 2011. After an extended legal ordeal, the court conditionally approved Antonov’s extradition to Lithuania, contingent upon a fair trial. In January 2014, Judge John Zani rendered a verdict in favour of extradition. Vladimir Antonov and Baranauskas promptly lodged an appeal, slated for December 1, 2014, after being adjourned in August 2014. Antonov’s bid against extradition met its demise in May 2015, and reports surfaced of his departure from the UK in July 2015. By September 2015, he was rumoured to be residing in Moscow.

Fast forward to March 2019, the Vyborg court in Saint-Petersburg sentenced Vladimir Antonov to 2.5 years in a standard regime penal colony for defrauding 150 million roubles from Sovetsky Bank. In August 2021, Antonov, the erstwhile co-owner of Latvijas Krajbanka, confronted a guilty verdict for grand embezzlement by the Vidzeme regional court. The judgment entailed a six-year prison sentence, asset deprivation, and the reimbursement of 27 million euros in profits to the state of Latvia. The prospect for an appeal lay open in the Regional Court of Riga.


Vladimir Antonov, born in 1975, is a Russian banker and entrepreneur whose career has spanned various roles in the financial sector. He gained prominence for purchasing and revitalizing struggling banks, notably Akademchimbank in 1999, implementing reforms to enhance efficiency and compliance. Antonov’s career extended to chairmanship positions in Convers Group and involvement in Conversbank, Bankas Snoras, and Banco Transatlantico.

His ownership of Spyker Cars faced allegations, leading to exclusion. In sports, Antonov acquired Portsmouth FC but faced financial turmoil and regulatory rebuke. Controversies surrounded him, including allegations of asset stripping and organized crime connections. Antonov was arrested in 2011, with extradition proceedings and legal battles lasting until 2015. In 2019, he was sentenced to prison for defrauding Sovetsky Bank, and in 2021, faced a guilty verdict for embezzlement in Latvia, receiving a six-year sentence.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris - The Digital Bloodhound Alexander isn't your typical investigative journalist. He thrives in the digital world, scouring the web for hidden connections and leaked documents. An expert data analyst and coder, he builds intricate digital trails to expose fraud, cybercrime, and government overreach. Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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