Saab backer Antonov to open Swedish bank

Saab backer Antonov to open Swedish bank
Vladimir Antonov has revealed plans to set up a bank in Sweden, and the Russian financier says he is ready to make a major investment in Swedish automaker Saab, business daily Dagens Industri reports.

As Antonov seeks to establish a balance between low-risk and high-risk markets, his Latvian bank Latvijas Krajbanka is preparing to open for business in Stockholm.

“Sweden is a low-risk market compared to Russia and the Baltics, and I’m convinced that we have major possibilities in Sweden,” he told Dagens Industri.

Antonov has sold his stake in Russia’s Investbank, enabling assets held in his Convers Group to rise in value to 44 billion kronor ($6.96 billion), 4.5 billion kronor of which is his own capital, the newspaper reports.

Antonov was forced out as a major owner in Spyker Cars in order for its acquisition of Saab to go through amid allegations of money laundering and organised crime. In reality, he lent most of the roughly $100 million to Saab board chair Victor Muller’s company – money which was used in part to purchase Saab and in part to resolve Antonov’s ownership stake in Spyker.

Antonov told Dagens Industri he hoped to team up with partners to invest 3.5 billion kronor in Saab. He also still harbours hopes that Saab could open a production facility in Russia.

Earlier this month, he stated that he still wanted to put pressure on the European Investment Bank to let him be a financier of Saab, which he claimed the bank was not prepared to do.

He has already agreed to buy Spyker Car’s heavily-indebted sports car operations, and has also expressed his interest in owning Saab.

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