Russian Vladimir Antonov – investor in Brendan O’Toole’s CPP – is wanted by the Lithuanian authorities after Snoras Bank was nationalised over asset stripping.
Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov has been busy buying up a raft of car companies (and Portsmouth FC) in recent years. But there are now big questions about how he financed that.
Vladimir Antonov is the main shareholder in Lithuanian Snoras bank (he owns 68 per cent) and in Latvijas Krajbanka via a 60 per cent stake owned by Snoras.
But now Lithuanian authorities have nationalised Snoras bank after they discovered a €300 million hole in Snoras’ accounts, triggered by an attempt to move Snoras assets overseas. They have now issued an arrest warrant for Antonov over alleged fraud and money laundering.
We’re were unsure of the exact extent of Antonov’s involvement in CPP (we now know he owns 50 per cent of CPP Global Holdings), but it’s generally believed that it is Antonov’s money which has financed CPP’s expansion, which has included acquiring Bowler, almost acquiring Spyker, a ‘partnership’ with Zagato, a new Jensen Interceptor and moving to Jaguar’s old Browns Lane site to consolidate their current facilities.
Under the circumstances, we thought we ought to ask CPP what they make of the current situation. After all, if the source of Antonov’s investments in CPP turn out to be somewhat less than kosher, it could make a big hole in CPP.
That could mean a real question mark over the future not just of CPP, Bowler and Zagato, but also of cars like the Aston Martin Zagato, which CPP will start building for Aston Martin in 2012 once all the One-77s are finished.
CPP Global Holdings statement re Vladimir Antonov:
Alongside Brendan O’Toole, founder, managing director and 50 per cent co-owner of CPP Global Holdings, Mr Antonov is a 50 per cent joint owner. The current investigations have no connection to CPP and we cannot comment on them, but we can confirm that CPP has never had any investment from or through Snoras Bank.
Therefore CPP’s Coventry-based operations – supplying world-class coachbuilding, manufacturing and engineering services to clients across the globe – are unaffected by any possible allegations being made against Mr Antonov.
The next phase of CPP’s business plan is also unaffected and the process of seeking additional investment for this next phase has been in progress for several months and is at advanced stage with several parties. Mr Antonov is not one of these parties.
CPP’s senior management, led by Brendan O’Toole, continues to work towards the planned development and stable expansion of the group. The focus remains to ensure the business continues to provide world-class products and services to its customers, and provides more high quality employment for Coventry and the surrounding region.
Bullish, as we would expect. But a concern, no doubt. We’ll update as this develops.