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Government probe halted Saab-Spyker deal

TT/Christine Demsteader · 1 Feb 2010, 11:33

Published: 30 Jan 2010 09:48 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Feb 2010 11:33 GMT+01:00

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A source close to the government told business daily Dagens Industri (DI) that Swedish security services (Säpo) were given the task of tracking the business interests of the Antonov family who were major investors in Spyker at the time.

The assignment was initiated by the Swedish National Debt Office (Riksgälden) which brought in private investigators to aid the mission.

Säpo is reported to have found connections between the Antonovs and organised crime as well as involvement in money laundering.

To prevent the Russians gaining any possible control over a new Saab-Spyker venture the government handed their findings over to the FBI.

The US government reacted quickly to the report and gave the board of General Motors a direct order to stop the deal, which happened on December 18th.

Hans Lindblad, state secretary at the Swedish Ministry of Finance, has confirmed the course of events to DI, stating that by bringing such information to light, the government were able to argue for a prolonged bidding process in December last year.

Story continues below…

Lindblad told DI there is no longer a Russian connection. "The Antonov family is gone now and have no power position whatsoever in Saab Spyker," he said.

TT/Christine Demsteader (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:38 January 30, 2010 by crunchy2k
I want to see the pictures....as a censor only like in the same vain of the acusures.
12:37 January 30, 2010 by tigger007
you have to be joking! an investigation of the buyers of saab. i don't understand the reason,but then again alot of russians billionairs are mixed with some organized crime.i wonder if the FBI has any proof of this Antonov family of wrong doing.i'm sure in near the future we will know more about this Antonov family and Spyker investigation.
14:34 January 30, 2010 by glamshek
Does it also carry the Tag of terrorism? Well that's the doomsday scenario.
14:50 January 30, 2010 by ameribrit
It was Säpo that did the investigation! You bunch of "blame everything on the Americans" Tools! Or are we now to believe that Säpo is a super secret covert branch of the FBI?
15:47 January 30, 2010 by wotist
In order for the deal to go through, the Swedish government - via the Swedish National Debt Office - had to guarantee payments to an EIB loan to the tune of €400 million.

If you're going to co-sign a loan you want to know fairly well who you're co-signing with. I certainly wouldn't want the Swedish government to co-sign a loan to organized crime. In the end, the Swedish tax-payers will probably be stuck with the bill for this €400 million loan even with the current backer.

I guess that's the best kind of deal to do - get the government to assume most of the risk and reap the rewards yourself if it's a success.
16:53 January 30, 2010 by Nemesis
A little lesson for the government.

They should give it to Konesegg.
18:36 January 30, 2010 by jack sprat
Interesting that both the failed Swedish bid and the Spyker bid have been viewed with a good deal of suspicion by both GM and the Swedish govt possibly due to lack of transparency,doubts about the backers and their real intentions.

In that respect who knows if anything has changed despite the apparent change of personel as stated above.

The original backer could well still be sitting waiting in the background having fixing an independant loan deal and agreement with one of the present on paper backers, and in the longer term once they have their hands on the EU or SW.govt funds, only then will their true intentions, honourable or otherwise begin to come to light.

We can only wish for the best, but all things considered including also the track record of both companies,especially Spyker, I have my doubts about how or where this business will end up and just hope the Swedish taxpayers and workers don't end up being sold down the river.
19:21 January 30, 2010 by falcon
Of course there should be scrutiny if Spyker is associated with or run by arm dealers and Gangsters. This should reveal much about this Buyer and the way they think and work. They have little money, a mountain of debt and gangsters? SWell.

Even if the gangsters are booted, they seldom go far and it still doesn't explain past associations. To this, Spyker is silent. Why?

This was the best alternative? Really?
20:00 January 30, 2010 by russellouten-coe
or is the biggest gangster around here GM!!?
22:22 January 30, 2010 by Spyker
Maybe, just maybe, this deal is just a fake to Pay back the

credits that Snoras bank (Sponsor of Spyker Squadron and belonging

to Antonov Clan) has given to Spyker in the past. Maybe, just maybe,

Vladimir Antonov made a big profit by selling his Spyker shares these

days. Maybe, just maybe, Victor Muller feels much better now having

the swedish government offering guarantees and giving money.

Fact, not maybe: Spyker's turnover in Q1+2/2009 was 4 Million Euro, Löss

in the same period was 8,7 Million Euro. Spyker never worked profitable

since they started to build cars. They had to bear credit of about 46 million

Euro, which is 4.6 Million per Person Working for Spyker (total 100).

Unbelieveable, but "maybe" the only reason for this deal was

to rescue Victor Muller's life from russian Maffia.
00:03 January 31, 2010 by zircon
Saab should now concentrate on it's real problems. The environment is it's biggest obstacle to become as big as selling 100.000 cars per year. And Sweden's government should be more decisive, in real matters. Especially being the fore runner of Climate Change.
01:21 January 31, 2010 by MikeSar
Somehow I am not surprised. Does honey attract bees? Does superior technology attract those that need and want it for commercial and, possibly, other reasons? You bet, better yet, don't bet on them.

Would you want the Mafia to own a key resource that is a leader in its field?

No, I am not against Russia or the Russians but, remember the submarine that showed up near Sweden? Did they ever come up with a credible explanation?

I believe Russia is still in transition, it is too early to know how they will want to live with the rest of the world. Perhaps, wild guess, they thought they could get SAAB the airplane company, with the JAS-39?

Hint No. 2: The Aral Sea is drying up and millions will be in dire straits and they will need funds and help from many nations. Why are they ignoring a major problem growing in the middle of their nation? I don't know, the news from the Aral Sea probably come from Satellite pictures taken by the best photo satellites: The French.

Where is the USA in all this? I wish I knew. There is nothing on the Aral Sea, they only focus on Global Warming, aren't they related?
04:32 January 31, 2010 by repat_xpat
ameribrit makes an interesting point. Worth a re-read.

I totally agree with Zircon: We MUST do something about Climate Change and we must do it NOW! I'm freaking freezing. I hope this deal sells more Spyker cars. We need the CO2.
05:34 January 31, 2010 by KarlÅke
Is this article about something that happened on December 18th? Or is it current news?

"The US government reacted quickly to the report and gave the board of General Motors a direct order to stop the deal, which happened on December 18th."
08:20 January 31, 2010 by Spyker
This is a report about the past. But the main point is that Snoras bank wanted it's money

back during the last month. How, if there is no new investor ? In a market that is more than critical (automotive), for a company that in the past never made any profit, there

is hardly any chance to solve this problem. If you are not Victor Muller, seeing the chance of getting new money telling the people he will rescue Saab. Read the book about his company "Spyker-Een dollemansrit" and you will know, how he thinks. By saying he will lead Saab to success again he forced GM and swedish government in a certain way to talk to an investor that is no real investor. He does not take a risk. The risk for him was Antonov, because he is dangerous not getting his money back.

Problem solved. As it is said: The swedish taxpayers will pay the bill ... .
12:32 January 31, 2010 by zircon
It's amazing how this Swedish Government is handling the Saab Deal. You can say two things: it has a better idea for the future of Saab, e.g. Saab Turbo Wind- Power Injection, or it is blatant arrogant and is playing a cynical game. By the mere idea of Fuel Economy and Tax Incentives, you can't keep wondering why it went on to do this deal. At the end of the story one was going to get very dry- bed. And swallowing pebbles.
00:06 February 2, 2010 by wenddiver
How about somebody at SAAB selling a few cars???? Climate change is BS, a new term for Global Warming, because it wasn't working now that everybody is freezng their bunns off.

If Russian Gangsters are what it takes to sell cars, then GM should have partnered with them. At some level all the billionaires are gangsters.

GO SELL CARS. You haven't been profitable for 20 years for God's sake.
19:51 February 4, 2010 by spy

Own up you are Bob Lutz.
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