Saab ‘surprise’ at Romania fighter decision

Swedish defence firm Saab has asked for all the facts to be laid open after the Romanian government chose to purchase second-hand US F-16s to the detriment of its Gripen fighter.

Saab 'surprise' at Romania fighter decision

“We are surprised at the statement indicating that the Supreme Defence Council is pursuing the old F-16s, without any offset, due to lack of financial resources,”, said Richard Smith, Saab’s marketing director for Romania.

“Unfortunately, the Romanian armed force may end up with someone else’s junk.”

The Supreme Council announced on Wednesday it would submit to parliament its decision to purchase 24 F-16 aircraft currently used by the US air force.

Bucharest is also considering buying 24 new F-16 and, at a later stage, acquiring 24 F-35 jets, the defence ministry said, stressing this was part of the Romanian-US “strategic partnership.”

But Saab said the ministry should “present to parliament all the offers that have been submitted, so that all the facts are available for discussion.”

The Swedish group also argued its offer was “better by far, from the economic perspective, due to…. the generous 100 percent offset.”

“We are guaranteeing offset which will bring investments and create tens of thousands of new jobs. The US is promising nothing. In a period of economic crisis, this is simply outrageous.”

Romania has long mulled the purchase of fighter planes to replace its ageing, Soviet-made MiG-21 Lancer aircraft, but has delayed the decision due to lack of funds.

The F-16 (Lockheed Martin) were competing with the Gripen jets, the Eurofighters (EADS, BAE Systems and Alenia/Finmeccanica) and the French-made Rafales (Dassault).

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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.