‘Saab is a brilliant deal’: Antonov

Russian financier and potential Saab investor Vladimir Antonov, who remains undaunted by recent troubles the Swedish carmaker, is currently being vetted by the Swedish debt office.

'Saab is a brilliant deal': Antonov

“Saab is a brilliant business deal,” Lars Carlström, Antonov’s Swedish spokesperson, told news agency TT.

Carlström is surprised that other potential backers haven’t realised this. According to him, it is a myth that Saab isn’t making any money.

“Saab was very integrated into General Motors and a lot of the profits went straight into their production,” Carlström said to news agency TT.

But now the future is bright for Saab and the Antonov group wants a large share.

“In 2008 Saab sold 133,000 cars with a ten-year-old model. Today, there are three new models and all are not even released on the market. It should be possible to sell a 100,000 cars now, reaching 130,000 in a year or two,” Carlström told TT.

Meanwhile, the Swedish National Debt Office (Riksgälden) has been advised to investigate the Russian financier at the request of Sweden’s enterprise ministry.

“I don’t know when it will be completed, but these kind of investigations must be allowed to take their time,” Håkan Lind, head of information at the ministry for enterprise, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

According to SR, an investigation into Antonov’s past was initiated as soon as the sale to Spyker was on the agenda.

Antonov was then a part owner but was forced out by GM, and the investigation was interrupted.

Behind the investigation were rumours that Antonov had connections to the Russian mafia, but no evidence has been found to confirm these reports.

In the mean time the Saab’s factory in western Sweden remains idle.

According to SR the employees were told on Thursday morning to not bother showing up for work on Friday either.

On Thursday Antonov’s plans to become an owner of Saab appeared to be moving forward as the Debt Office announced it had received an agreement from Saab and a “foreign party” thought to be Antonov.

According to debt office head Bo Lundgren, it is now up to the Swedish government to decide how to proceed regarding potential changes to Saab’s ownership.

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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.