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SAAB

Formula One boss face of last-minute Saab bid

British sports magnate Bernie Ecclestone has teamed up with the Luxembourg investment firm that is launching a last-minute rescue bid for Swedish carmaker Saab, according to media reports.

Formula One boss face of last-minute Saab bid

Luxembourg-based Genii Capital announced it was interested in making an offer with Ecclestone, just as the deadline for final bids for Saab expired at 10pm GMT on Thursday, the BBC reported.

The privately-held firm said it would “aggressively work towards a successful closing of the transaction with all the relevant stakeholders of the company.”

It said it believes Saab has “tremendous brand value in a number of key automotive markets, as well as an innovative image,” the reports added.

Genii already has links with Ecclestone after it last month bought a stake in the Renault Formula One team, allowing the team to remain in the sport.

US carmaker General Motors announced in December it would wind up Saab, which employs 3,400 people in Sweden.

However GM extended a deadline to consider offers for Saab after Dutch

sports car maker Spyker approached the US automaker with a last-ditch proposal.

Spyker chief executive officer Victor Muller said on Thursday it would submit a definitive, updated bid for Saab.

Saab is one of four storied brands that GM is shedding as part of a massive restructuring effort that began in 2005 and accelerated last year when the largest US automaker went bankrupt.

Analysts have warned that some 8,000 jobs could be lost with Saab’s closure.

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CARS

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
 
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
 
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
 
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
 
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.
 

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
 
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
 
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
  
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
 
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
 
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
 
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.