speak with Vladimir Antonov

Following yesterday’s report that Vladimir Antonov had been exonerated from the rumours and innuendo that barred him from being part of the Saab deal, the man himself has spoken to Svenska Dagbladet.

The Googletrans, with some assistance from Carl-Henrik.


Do you still want to buy Saab?

-Yes, absolutely,” he says, on a bad telephone line late yesterday afternoon from Kiev, where he sits in the middle of a board meeting.

You negotiate now with GM to buy Saab and Spyker?

“We are currently negotiating with GM on various opportunities.

It was last Monday that the Debt Office released the confidentiality of a report on the Antonov, which the law firm Vinge gave the U.S. research firm Kroll to do. It was completed on 16 December 2009, just two days before GM stopped the whole affair because the Antonov was involved as an owner.

The second report is one that Antonov commissioned to clear his name. It is made by the survey company, IPSA International. The report addresses the rumors and accusations of money laundering and organized crime. The authors write that they talked to official sources and regulatory authorities in several countries.

Report authors found no evidence that the Antonov acted criminally. The report was completed in June but appears only now to the media.

Why are journalists not seen the report until now?

“It’s not my responsibility. Swedish Government reported back in September. You’ve good legislation in Sweden with open government.

Information in Financial Times last fall claimed that Muller was forced to look for a new sponsor – the Antonov wanted to pull out when he could not come in as a shareholder. But Vladimir Antonov dismisses fears.

How long can the situation (as a lender to Spyker) go on, you have no limit?

“I am a banker who lent money and it is not linked to whether I will be involved directly in the Saab or not. It is linked to my friend Victor Muller. We continue as a bank to lend money to his company and to any customer.

Saab’s new beginning has been a tough year. Victor Muller and Jan Ake Jonsson have been embarrassed to write down the year’s sales forecast twice – from 60 000 cars down to 30 000 cars – thus halving.

Do you really take the Saab with these figures in mind?

It is true, sales have been delayed, but I know they are now following the business plan. I think next year will be much better than this year.

Victor Muller needs to repay a loan of EUR 31 million through his company Tenaci by end of April next year. It is unclear whether he can do it. Antonov can then take the Spyker sports car division that is set as security.

What if he can not pay the loan?

“I think Tenaci can do it – if not we’ll assess it then, but we have a good relationship.

Honestly – do you really think you can come back as the owner of Spyker and Saab?

“I honestly do not know. It may be the closest time will tell.


Swade here…..

I should stress that if there was any default on the loan due and payable in April 2011, it’s my understanding that the claim could be made on Spyker’s sports car division, not on the Saab car division.

12 thoughts on “ speak with Vladimir Antonov”

  1. So VM has ‘put his house on it’ and may end up losing Spyker? US sales had better pick up, for everyone’s sake; particularly VMs.

  2. In the Swedish business paper DI, well-known to most readers, there is also an article about this. The most intersting thing is the comments. They are in three main areas;
    1. SAAB is going bank-rupt now, and desperately needs more financing (the usual pessimistic Swedish style of commenting)
    2. Why Russians are always the bad guys, always corrupted and always with an alternative agenda behind their backs, while the Chinese are put in much more positive words.
    3. The possibililties for SAAB to start production in Russia, which cars and the prospects of succeeding.
    My view is that with help of Antonov and his contacts, SAAB can within a few years have a good business selling the last generation cars in Russia, giving some extra profit to the business plan and in addition make it possible to sell the current line-up to the more wealthy Russians.

    • I don’t think it’ll come to that. VM and VA seem to be pretty tight and I’m sure they’ll work out whatever they need to – if indeed anything needs to be worked out at all.

  3. Not to play the Devil’s Advocate here, but…

    “The second report is one that Antonov commissioned to clear his name.”

    When someone, or some entity, commisions a report on themselves…the results SOMETIMES (key word here kids) can be a bit suspect. Not saying that is the case here…but it is possible fodder for the press in general…and GM in particular…if they so choose.

    • saabdude,
      your conclusion follows the SOMETIMES perhaps guilty, until otherwise proven paradigm, which is a little bit suspect, IMHO.
      The first report doesn’t show anything suspect, and nobody seems to be interested in the second one, my conclusion: He is innocent, until otherwise proven.

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