London Hearts Supporters Club

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Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth Rob Robertson auth-> Peter Sippel
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Hearts owner plans Edinburgh bank

ROB ROBERTSON September 27 2006

Vladimir Romanov, the Hearts FC owner, aims to open a branch of his bank in Edinburgh in the new year.
The Lithuanian multimillionaire is in talks with the London-based Financial Services Authority for permission to open a Scottish-base for Ukio-Bankas, the bank in which he has a major shareholding.

Mr Romanov has also opened talks with city property companies to secure a prime site for the new bank and will hope to draw on Hearts supporters to give custom to his bank, which sponsors the Tynecastle outfit. A spokesman for Romanov said last night it was too early to say how many banking jobs the new Ukio Bankas office would create.
Since he first showed an interest in Hearts more than two years ago it had always been thought Mr Romanov was keen to have a banking representation in Edinburgh.
A source close to negotiations said: "Part of the rationale for Mr Romanov's involvement with Hearts was that he saw it as an opportunity to grow his banking business empire outwith the confines of Lithuania.

"There are five major financial centres in Europe, of which Edinburgh is one. It is of interest to Ukio Bankas to look into the possibility of opening in Scotland. He is keen to find a site for his bank in Edinburgh and believes the time is right for such a move and if everything goes to plan it could open in the New Year. His decision to open his bank also shows his continued commitment to Hearts and the fact he wants to open a branch here shows he is in Scotland for the long-term."

Mr Romanov has his main office at the Ukio Bankas HQ in Kaunas in Lithuania, the city where he started his business empire. He also has business interests in Bosnia-Herzegovina and recently opened a branch of Ukio Bankas in Kazakhstan.
Martin Laidlaw, chairman of the Hearts Supporters Trust, said Mr Romanov opening a bank in Edinburgh was good news for Hearts, a club which had been on the brink of administration before the multimillionaire stepped in to take it over."It shows that he is here for the long-haul," he said.

Taken from the Herald

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