Fresh questions raised over Saab finances
Published: 13 Jul 2011 14:32 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Jul 2011 14:32 GMT+02:00
The future of cash-strapped Swedish automaker Saab remains uncertain after doubts emerged over the finances of potential investor Vladimir Antonov and the revelation that the company has substantial tax debts.
The central bank of Lithuania has accused the bank Snoras, co-owned by Russian financier Vladimir Antonov, of breaking the law and carrying out reckless lending.
This criticism could be what lies at the heart of the procrastination by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to make a final decision regarding Antonov’s future ownership in Saab Automobile, according to Sveriges Radio (SR).
At a meeting in January the board of directors from the Central Bank of Lithuania demanded that the bank, with Antonov as chairman, change their ways.
According to minutes from a meeting that SR has studied, the bank is violating Lithuanian law, isn’t handling trade with stocks and shares and has engaged in reckless lending.
The bank allegedly approved a significant loan to a Russian company, which had been declined by other banks.
But according to Antonov’s spokesperson in Sweden, Lars Carlström, there are other factors lurking behind the EIB’s reluctance to approve Antonov’s involvement in Saab.
“There is a hidden agenda in this matter in which the Swedish government is key. That’s what is hindering the process,” Carlström told the TT news agency.
He thinks that it is a question of prestige and politics.
“They have said no once and therefore want to prove themselves right. Inexplicably, they are willing to risk 10,000 jobs to gain prestige, which seems a bit odd,” Carlström said.
Saab’s cash troubles continue as the Swedish Tax authorities (Skatteverket) revealed on Wednesday that the company owes 34 million Swedish kronor ($5.2 million) in unpaid taxes. The monies owed, mainly in the form of VAT (moms) and payroll taxes, were supposed to have been paid in on Tuesday.
If the company fails to pay the tax agency by the beginning of August they will receive a recovery order from the agency.
If the monies owed still haven’t been paid by the end of the month, the matter will be referred to the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden).
At the moment the Swedish Enforcement Authority are dealing with 93 claims against the beleaguered automaker.