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Lithuania Ex-Bank Inspector Suspected of Snoras Bankruptcy Role

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The Lithuanian central bank’s former head of bank supervision is suspected of helping Bankas Snoras AB hide violations that led to the lender’s bankruptcy last year, the General Prosecutor’s Office said.

An investigation of the bank’s demise produced evidence to suspect Kazimieras Ramonas, former head of the Bank of Lithuania’s Credit Institutions Supervision Department, of covering up deficiencies and legal violations starting in 2009, the office, in the capital Vilnius, said on its website today.

Ramonas, who previously said he neither knew about the problems at Snoras nor had reason to suspect them, did not respond to a call and a text message from a Bloomberg reporter on his mobile phone.

Once Lithuania’s third-biggest bank by deposits, Snoras is suing its former owners Vladimir Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas in London for 492 million euros ($643 million) on claims they forged documents and fixed accounts to siphon money out of the bank. Both men deny the claims and are fighting them. The Lithuanian government nationalized Snoras and declared it insolvent on Nov. 16, 2011.

Ramonas’s actions and deliberate failures to act “allowed Snoras to hide from the Bank of Lithuania the true ownership of assets it held in foreign banks,” the Prosecutor’s Office said. “That is why the threat of Snoras being insolvent was not recognized in time.”

The central bank fired Ramonas on Nov. 30, 2011. The Third District Court of Vilnius City on June 20 rejected his claim that the dismissal was unlawful, according to a statement on its website. The court ordered the Bank of Lithuania to remove the word ’severe’ from the decree of dismissal, which originally cited “a severe infringement of labor discipline.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Bryan Bradley in Vilnius at bbradley13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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