FORMER Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov is facing demands to return to Lithuania to face prosecution after being pictured sunning himself on a beach, just a month after claiming he’d been hospitalised with a stroke.
Romanov alleged he’d suffered a stroke and was receiving treatment in a Moscow hospital after being charged by the Lithuanian authorities for non-payment of debts when his Ukio Bankas went bust, which could see him serve seven years in prison if found guilty.
However, he has created outrage in his homeland after pictures were published of him frolicking in the sea in Russia, leading to calls for the 66-year-old to return to his homeland and face trial. A Lithuanian government prosecutor said: “We have seen the pictures of him. The situation is that he has sent a doctor’s certificate saying he needs to rest which was approved by the Ministry of Health. However, we will now be urgently trying to contract him and will take a decision on what we will do in the near future.”
Romanov, the chairman of UBIG Investments, which holds a majority shareholding in Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas, took control of Hearts in 2005. But UBIG has now been deemed insolvent and the bank and Hearts are both in administration. Hearts’ total claims by club creditors amount to £28.4m , the bulk of which is owed to Romanov’s collapsed Lithuanian companies.