KAUNAS: Vladimir Romanov, controversial owner of Scottish club Harts, is suspected of embezzling £12m at Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas, where he was a majority shareholder.

Prosecutors have issued an international arrest warrant for Romanov who is believed to be in Russia.

Simonas Minkevicius of the Lithuanian prosecutor general’s office said the arrest warrant had been issued four weeks ago.

If Romanov is convicted he could face up to seven years in jail.

Minkevicius told Baltic News Service: “Mr Romanov is a suspect in the case, he is suspected of large-scale embezzlement of Ukio Bankas assets. The suspect is yet to be interviewed, therefore his position on the incriminated actions is not known.”

Vilma Mazone, from the Lithuanian prosecutor’s office, added: “V Romanov has been recognised as a suspect and is suspected of having squandered high-value property belonging to the bank Ukio Bankas.

“We cannot state yet the exact value of the squandered property, as its amount has not been established yet.

“Laws of the Republic of Lithuania provide that a person who has committed the above mentioned criminal offence shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of up to seven years.

“As there were reasonable doubts regarding (the) whereabouts of V Romanov, on July 4 the prosecutor passed the decision to announce a search for him; on the same day that decision was forwarded to the police for execution.”