Vladimir Antonov speaks on Fear and Loathing of Russian money

Spyker investor and soon-to-be-former Chairman, Vladimir Antonov, has penned an editorial that appears in today’s New York Times.
As he alludes to in the article, Antonov was considered to be an undesirable element in the Saab deal and I’m sure the conversation between he and Victor Muller that led to his planned withdrawal from Spyker would have been an awkward one.
Antonov’s contention in the Op-Ed piece is that there is an undeserved fear of Russian money out there in the business world and the real world consequences in terms of this misplaced fear for the Saab deal could have been quite grave. Thankfully the perceived problems weren’t insurmountable.
At the end of January I covered an article from the Swedish news stating that the US government halted the Saab transaction:

The Swedish Gov stopped the deal after having the Secret Service and a private investigating firm eyeing the Antonovs and its money. These two made a report and that was forwarded to the FBI. It should prove strong links between the Antonovs and money laundering and organised crime.
GM’s board got a direct order from the US Government to stop the deal on the 18th.
This is confirmed by Hans Lindblad at the Finance Department, who also confirms that the Antonovs no longer have any position of influence at Spyker.

Now, when you read ‘Secret Service’ there, it means the Swedish equivalent, not the US version with the sunglasses, etc.
This story, or the Swedish part of it, at least, seems to be confirmed by Antonov in his Op-Ed.

…..someone noticed that 29.9 percent of Spyker’s shares belonged to my company. Surreal allegations of alleged “economic crimes,” “money laundering” and other false horror stories about my business emerged. The main aim of those who should have been worried about Saab’s survival now moved to ensure the exclusion of this “evil” Russian investor.
On Dec. 18, the deal between G.M. and Spyker was suspended. I was forced to give up my investment in Spyker because the Swedish government had threatened to veto the deal, insinuating that I had ties with criminal organizations. There was no proof, but rumors were spread in the media.

There’s nothing about the US government or the FBI, but then again it’s being written in a US paper, so not mentioning it could be appropriate. No need to ruffle feathers at this delicate stage of the game.
Antonov did appear at the commencement of Spyker’s manufacturing venture in Coventry just yesterday, perhaps a final official act before his shares will be acquired by Victor Muller next week in the closing of the Saab deal.
I’m sure he’d be quite keen to stay involved somehow. Here’s my suggestion.
Mr Antonov – there are Saab dealers all over the world who require floorplan financing and some of them are at risk of having to close their businesses right now, in spite of a deal being done for Saab’s sale.
Want to stay involved and help at the same time? Here’s your chance.

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