Russian backer secures Saab property funds

Russian backer secures Saab property funds
Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov has agreed a deal with an independent European bank to handle payments to Swedish carmaker Saab with regard to the sale of its property holdings, his spokesperson has confirmed.

Antonov’s spokesperson Lars Carlström confirmed the deal to broadcaster TV4 Väst on Monday while declining to name the bank pending reaction from the Swedish National Debt Office.

The Debt Office and Saab have enter an agreement in principle to ensure that Saab receives reasonable compensation for the sale of its property, that an independent bank secures the payments and that there remains no doubt regarding the buyer.

All that remains for the agreement to be finalized are a number of details, the Debt Office confirmed on Monday.

They have however not processed Vladimir Antonov’s ownership application.

“I have nothing about the ownership. It is ongoing,” said Unni Jerndal at the Debt Office.

The Swedish government has demanded that Antonov undergo a form of character analysis in order to allow him to buy Saab. The process is not however unusual.

“I think it is more common than we imagine. That we do not hear about it so often is because it concerns deals that do not reach the general public,” said Mikael Wickelgren, lecturer in business administration at the University of Skövde.

The government’s review of the Russian financier is welcomed by Antonov himself, Lars Carlstrom said.

“He can withstand the scrutiny, everything is transparent from our side. We have been providing all the information that the National Debt Office has wanted,” he said.

According to Carlström, all the issues have now been investigated.

The Local reported at the time of Dutch Spyker’s purchase of Saab from US firm GM in early 2010, that a Swedish government investigation into the dealings of the Russian Antonov family had caused the FBI to order GM to pull out of the deal in December.

Only after assurances that Antonov was not in fact underwriting the deal, was the purchase completed, while the doubts over financing have persisted in the interim period.

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