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Lithuania suspends Vladimir Romanov's bank operation

The bank run by Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov has been temporarily suspended after the authorities ruled it had engaged in risky behaviour and no longer met finance requirements.

Lithuania's central bank appointed a temporary administrator to assess and report within six days on the Ukio Bankas AB, Lithuania ’s sixth-largest lender by assets.

It is controlled by Romanov, owner of Heart of Midlothian. The Edinburgh SPL club moved to reassure fans.

The central bank said in a statement: “The decision was approved once it was clear that other statutory enforcement measures would not be sufficient in ensuring the security of the interests of depositors and the general public.”

Ukio Bankas reported last October a net loss of around £12m for the first nine months of 2012.

It has since had to deal with investor concerns about the quality of its loans, the valuation of real estate it owns, and probes into the alleged laundering of embezzled Russian money through its accounts.

The stock exchange in Vilnius said it had suspended trading of Ukio shares at the central bank’s request.

Romanov owns 64.9% of Ukio Bankas shares.

Last year, Hearts settled an issue with HMRC by agreeing to pay £1.5million over three years. Players had to voluntarily defer their wages for weeks.

The club have also raised £1m through a share issue schemet. Some 4000 supporters signed up, but there remains a shortfall of almost £800,000.

Since Romanov brought the club in 2005, around 20 players have featured for Hearts as part of a loan agreement with Kanuas.

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