Regular readers will recall that Craig Whyte, the former owner of Rangers (or to be accurate the person believed to be the ultimate owner of the company which owns the company which owned 85% of the shares in the company which formerly owned the assets and business which make up Rangers Football Club) had a warrant for his arrest granted at Inverness Sheriff Court recently.
However, despite the numerous demands for him to be strung up for what he supposedly did to Rangers, and the various police investigations which are apparently ongoing, the warrant did not relate to that, but rather to his failure to come to court as a witness in a criminal trial.
He was able to resolve the matter, arranging to appear at court to surrender to the warrant, and then being granted bail. The Sheriff will deal with the imposition of any penalty for his failure to attend when the criminal case in question is concluded.
The next victim of this new career path is Vladimir Romanov, erstwhile owner of Hearts.
Unfortunately it seems that Mr Romanov’s issues might prove to be more difficult to resolve than those of Mr Whyte.
Prosecutors in Lithuania have issued an arrest warrant for former Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov, reports from the country are indicating.
Romanov is thought to be in Russia and, if found, would be returned to Lithuania and prosecuted for non-payment of debts.
If found guilty, he could face up to seven years in prison.
The reports also indicate that a property in Moscow believed to be owned by Romanov has been valued at £50m.
Bearing in mind the extent of the debts of UBIG and Ukio Bankas, one suspects that the £50 million property, even if it does belong to Mr Romanov, would not make much of a dent in the liabilities.
It would clear off all of Hearts debt, but sadly for the Tynecastle outfit, that is definitely not going to happen.
Now, I do not want to criticise the BBC but I think that the report above might be incorrect in one regard.
Under Article 1 of the Fourth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, signed in 1963:-
No one shall be deprived of his liberty merely on the ground of inability to fulfil a contractual obligation.
The heading to that Article makes clear exactly what is intended:-
Prohibition of imprisonment for debt
It is almost certain therefore that Mr Romanov is wanted for more than simply failing to pay debts.
Whether or not he returns from Russia to Lithuania, and what prospect there is of Lithuania being able to force the hand-over of Mr Romanov to their prosecutors, are matters for later. One thing which is almost certain is that he has visited Tynecastle for the last time – I suspect that the Romanov attention will from now on be focussed on his legal travails in the Baltic.
Posted by Paul McConville