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Former Portsmouth owner Vladmir Antonov's extradition hearing adjourned
2:16pm Monday 21st January 2013 in Football League
An extradition hearing for the Russian former owner of Portsmouth Football Club was adjourned for nearly six months today.
The case against Vladimir Antonov, which is expected to last nearly two weeks, was adjourned until July 8 at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.
District Judge John Zani told Antonov, 37, and his Lithuanian business partner Raimondas Baranauskas, 55: ''It's very unfortunate that this case can't start today, it is through no-one's fault that this position has arisen.
''I was very anxious to keep this date, because I always think that extraditions should progress quickly, so that you know your fate, whether an order will be made or not. But, unfortunately, we can't deal with it today.''
At least 21 witnesses are expected to be called, including a number of experts, the judge was told.
The extradition warrants issued by the Lithuanian authorities are in connection with an alleged multimillion-pound fraud at a bank formerly controlled by Antonov.
The London-based banker bought Portsmouth Football Club in June 2011 but was forced to stand down as chairman in November that year when his Convers Sports Initiatives company went into administration.
Lithuanian prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant for Antonov and Baranauskas in November 2011 after naming them as the main suspects in a pre-trial investigation into how hundreds of millions of pounds in assets were allegedly stripped from Snoras Bank.
The pair, who are fighting extradition, declined to comment after today's hearing. Their conditional bail was renewed.
James Lewis QC, representing Antonov, told the court he was hoping to call a Professor Morgan, who was an expert on conditions in Lithuanian prisons.
A judge in Northern Ireland had ruled recently that prison conditions in Lithuania were so bad that no-one could be sent there under a European arrest warrant.
''We are hoping to have Mr Morgan assist you on this particular point,'' Mr Lewis told District Judge Zani.