Russian businessman finances Saab deal

Vladimir Antonov, the Russian businessman forced to step aside as a condition of the takeover of Saab by Dutch Spyker, has claimed that his banks have financed the first downpayment to GM, according to a report by news agency Bloomberg.

The claim refers to the first $25 million instalment due to General Motors. According to Antonov, Spyker shareholders, GM and the Swedish government are all aware of the source of the money.

“The first payment has been made available by our banks,” Antonov told Bloomberg by phone.

Spyker’s CEO Victor Muller has on several occasions refused to reveal the identity of the lender. He has stated that it is his own firm Tenaci which has backed the instalment by loaning the money.

Vladimir Antonov is Spyker’s largest shareholder with almost 30 percent of the shares and his banking arm Convers Group has provided major loans to the debt-ridden sports-car maker.

Muller has agreed to acquire Antonov’s shareholding and settle outstanding debts to the Russian’s banks through his company Tenaci. GM is reported to have made this demand as a condition of the sale of Saab to Spyker.

Vladimir Antonov told Bloomberg that he could not understand GM’s thinking. He has launched a self-appointed investigation to clear himself of any suspicion over links to the criminal underworld.

Spyker is due to pay a total of $74 million for Saab with the final instalment due by July 15th.

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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.