HEARTS’ prospects of moving out of administration could improve further today when a Lithuanian court meets to appoint an administrator for Ubig, the club’s biggest creditor.
That could bring the possibility of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) a step closer, and comes just three days after administrators for another large creditor, Ukio Bankas, agreed to begin the CVA process.
The Foundation of Hearts, the supporters’ group chaired by Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray, hailed Ukio’s move as a significant milestone on the road to ownership. They now hope that Ubig’s administrators, once appointed, will follow Ukio’s lead.
“I’ve always thought of this as a process with four big steps,” Murray said yesterday. “First is us becoming preferred bidders. Second is the Ukio administrators agreeing there should be a CVA. Step three is the Ubig administrators, when appointed, agreeing the same thing. And then step four is the final agreement, completion of the CVA and the takeover of the club.”
The Foundation became preferred bidders in August, since when they have worked closely with Hearts’ administrators BDO. Agreeing a deal with Ukio’s administrators on a CVA has been a long and painstaking process but Murray now hopes that Ubig will follow suit.
Both Lithuanian firms were once controlled by Vladimir Romanov, who faces embezzlement charges in his home city of Kaunas. Romanov missed previous court hearings, pleading health problems, but yesterday a Russian reporter said she had met the former Hearts owner.
“[Romanov] is in Moscow,” Nadezhda Perepekova told Lithuanian TV. “He has been here all the time since he left Lithuania. It was some kind of story that he had a heart problem and went to hospital. He said his health was okay and it was just an excuse to get out of Lithuania.”