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Hearts owner embroiled in bank payroll scandal

VLADIMIR Romanov is at the centre of a new scandal in Lithuania after it emerged his sister was given a large salary at his insolvent bank as it slid into financial meltdown.

Hearts are in a dire financial position and the collapse of owner Romanov's Ukio Bankas in his homeland has led to renewed fears over the football club's future.

After details emerged of the payroll at Romanov's bank, the controversial businessman is under further pressure.

A Lithuanian TV documentary uncovered evidence that Tynecastle chief Romanov paid his sister Olga Gonaruk a monthly salary of £11,275 – enormous by Lithuanian standards – for being "head of administration".

It also emerged that Romanov's bank paid for her exotic holidays over the years to places including Brazil to watch the World Basketball Championships.

However, his sister had her assets seized last month, which included an enormous house and vast amounts of land, along with two properties in Vilnius.

The documentary revealed that several other Romanov family members and friends were paid vast sums from his Ukio bank, before it finally hit the rocks this week.

When questioned about the payments, the Hearts chief snapped: "Listen, you can go to hell."

Ukio Bankas administrator Adam Audickas said: "I can't confirm the actual wage figures to the people concerned, but it is in the region that has been mentioned.

"I don't want to comment any further."

Mr Audickas also declined to reveal details of the relationship between Ukio Bankas and sister company UBIG, owner of Hearts.

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