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Spyker to continue fight for GM Saab pay out

Dutch car builder Spyker on Thursday said it will appeal the dismissal of its $3.0 billion claim in a US court against General Motors, which Spyker accuses of deliberately bankrupting Sweden's Saab in 2011.

Spyker to continue fight for GM Saab pay out

“Spyker… shall appeal the ruling of the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan,” in favour of GM, the plaintiff car group Spyker said in a short statement from its headquarters in the central Dutch town of Zeewolde.

It did not give any further details.

Spyker filed a lawsuit in August claiming $3 billion in damages.

It alleged that GM criminally interfered in an operation that could have made it possible for Saab, which Spyker bought in 2010, 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 2011 after teetering on the edge of the abyss for almost two years. A last-ditch bid to raise funds in China, with the Youngman group, was blocked by GM over issues concerning the transfer of technology.

Chinese carmaker Youngman had long been interested in buying Saab and tried

to snap it up before it declared bankruptcy — but its efforts were stymied by Saab’s former owner, GM, which balked at transferring the necessary technology

licences.

At the time, Spyker’s chief executive Victor Muller said that the $3 billion claim in compensation represented the value which Saab would have represented had the deal with Youngman gone through, but analysts at the time were sceptical whether the suit would succeed.

GM in its response to the claim denied any criminal action or intent, saying Saab had granted it a contractual right to agree, or not, to the transaction proposed by Spyker.

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

GM has maintained that Spyker bought Saab “knowing its financial history, and subject to terms spelled out unambiguously in the arrangements attached to the complaint.”

“Those agreements include clear contractual limitations in the future use of GM’s technology, and on the transfer of technology to others,” GM said in a document, filed before the court a month after Spyker filed the claim.

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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.