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SAAB

Spyker, Saab lawsuit rejected by GM

US carmaker General Motors has denied any criminal wrongdoing in the bankruptcy of Swedish carmaker Saab, calling on US authorities to throw out a lawsuit filed by Dutch carmaker Spyker which is seeking $3 billion in damages.

Spyker, Saab lawsuit rejected by GM

The lawsuit, filed in early August, charges GM criminally interfered in an operation that could have made it possible for Saab to restructure and stay afloat, because the US automaker wanted to dominate the Chinese market.

Saab, a former GM subsidiary, filed for bankruptcy in December after teetering on the edge of the abyss for almost two years. A last-ditch bid to raise funds in China, with the group Youngman, was nixed by GM over technology transfer issues.

In a document filed Friday in US District Court in Michigan, GM denied any criminal action or intent.

“Saab had granted GM a contractual right to consent or to withhold its consent to the transaction plaintiffs proposed,” it said.

“In fact, all GM is alleged to have done is publicly express its lack of support for plaintiffs’ last-ditch proposal. That conduct cannot constitute improper interference as a matter of law.”

GM sold Saab in 2010 to Spyker. A deal reached parallel to the sale allowed Saab to keep using GM technologies to keep production going, but allowed GM to stop the arrangement if Saab changed hands.

“Spyker bought Saab knowing this financial history, and subject to terms spelled out unambiguously in the agreements attached to the complaint. Those agreements included clear contractual limitations on the future use of GM’s technology, and on the transfer of that technology to others,” the GM filing stressed.

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CARS

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.