Tax probe forces ex-Saab CEO from Vattenfall

Jan Åke Jonsson, the former head of Saab Automobile who was arrested last week on suspicion of tax crimes, has been asked to leave from his on the board of state-owned power company Vattenfall.

Tax probe forces ex-Saab CEO from Vattenfall

The 61-year-old executive, who was released within hours of being arrested last Thursday, will be welcomed back to the Vattenfall board if the suspicions against him are proven untrue, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

Last week, the ministry urged Jonsson to take a break from his work on the Vattenfall board when it emerged he was under suspicion of obstructing tax authorities’ review of Saab as it careened toward bankruptcy in 2011.

“Jan Åke Jonsson had performed valuable work for Vattenfall’s board. When situations like this come up, conditions for remaining on the board must be reviewed,” Victoria Ericsson, a spokeswoman for Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman told the TT news agency.

Jonsson told Sveriges Radio (SR) that he requested to leave the board.

Ericsson emphasized as well that the ministry hadn’t made any assessment regarding whether or not Jonsson may be guilty.

“The question of guilt will be handled by the legal system. Jan Åke Jonsson is obviously welcome to return to Vattenfall’s board if he’s cleared of the suspicions,” she said.

Jonsson and two other former Saab executives are being investigated for their role in obstructing the tax authorities’ review of the company’s affairs during 2010 and 2011.

The time period for the suspected crimes corresponds to the Sweden-based automaker’s most turbulent time, when it was under ownership of the Dutch company Spyker. It was characterized by the company neither hitting sales target nor living up to financial predictions.

The company was declared bankrupt in December 2011.

The Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) handed in a report to the police in May 2012 about their suspicions.

If found guilty, the former Saab bosses risk spending four years in prison.

TT/The Local/dl

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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.