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SWITZERLAND

Swiss to pay less than Swedes for Gripen jets

Switzerland will pay far less for the 22 fighter jets it is planning to buy from the Swedish company Saab than Sweden itself would pay for the aircraft, the Swiss public broadcaster SF reported.

Swiss to pay less than Swedes for Gripen jets

Switzerland is to buy the JAS-39 Gripen combat jets for 100 million Swiss francs ($107 million) each, SF reported late Sunday, citing unnamed sources in both Switzerland and Sweden.

That price is between 15 to 30 percent below the level Sweden itself has agreed to pay for the planes, according to the broadcaster’s sources.

Stockholm has said it plans to buy between 40 to 60 Gripen jets, but has not said revealed how much it will pay for each.

A spokesman for the Swedish defence ministry refused on Monday to comment on the SF report.

Switzerland announced in August that it had agreed to the highly controversial deal to replace its ageing Northrop F-5E/F Tiger fighters, with deliveries set to start in 2018.

It said the deal was worth 3.13 billion Swiss francs, but that amount included related services and it was unclear how much Switzerland would actually pay for each jet.

Swiss defence ministry spokeswoman Sonja Margelist declined to specify the amount paid per plane, saying her ministry would only speak about the full amount of the deal.

The Swiss Gripen purchase, which is part of a larger order for the planes to be shared with Sweden in a bid to cut production costs, is controversial in Switzerland because it will require spending cuts in other areas.

Defence Minister Ueli Maurer has countered the criticism by insisting that the Gripen “was the cheapest” option compared with the French Dassault Rafale and the EADS Eurofighter.

The deal must still receive a green light from the Swiss parliament and could possibly still be derailed by a popular referendum.

The agreement has also been criticized in Sweden for handing over very pricey merchandise at discount rates.

“Switzerland has no plans whatsoever to contribute to Gripen’s development costs,” Anna Dahlberg, a commentator with the Swedish daily Expressen, lamented after the August announcement.

She added “the country chose Gripen simply because it was the cheapest alternative.”

AFP/The Local/og

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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.