Statement from Antonov

It looks like Antonov has issued a statement on the behaviour of Swegov and EIB. It spreads on the online news channels in Sweden right now. This one is a googletrans from

“I have therefore decided to investigate the possibility of taking legal action, including but not limited to claims for damages, which may be of interest to various parties, including myself, the EIB, some officials at the EIB, the Swedish government and some government officials personally,” writes Vladimir Antonov said in a statement.

– It’s Reinfeldt, Borg and Olofsson, who are the government representatives who Antonov company Convers Group to examine whether we can take legal action against, say Antonov spokesman Lars Carlstrom.

– We take a process in motion by our lawyers that make a screening of it here. Within two weeks we will conduct an evaluation. Depending on what it shows there may be lawsuits against various parties.

TT: What party is this?

– We know that there are two parties involved and the EIB and the Government says Carlstrom.

Vladimir Antonov, repeat the criticism of the Bank and the Swedish government, which his spokesman Lars Carlstrom expressed yesterday.

“By denying SWAN (Swedish Automobile) and Saab Automobile access to the funding that I offer, what these companies want and still desperately want, both the Bank and the Swedish government acted against all involved parties concerned, particularly against Saab and SWAN’s employees , suppliers, traders, lenders and shareholders, “writes Antonov said in a statement.

– It’s very strange.

So says Anette Hellgren, Union local shop steward at the Saab factory in Trollhattan, if the government since 2009 known to the Bank’s attitude to Vladimir Antonov can not be viable as a shareholder in Saab as long as EIB loans remain.

– They told you to do a trial, and the government has said it is awaiting the EIB. Then it sounds very strange to refer to the EIB. Also, the EIB’s behavior is strange.

From the government’s direction has, however, no sympathy for the criticism.

– We are totally unsympathetic to this. The Swedish government is concerned about the Swedish car industry and have put money and commitment to its development. That we would discourage the development of the Swedish automotive industry is a position we do not share, says Johanna Martin, Press Secretary to Maud Olofsson (C), the TT as a comment to that Antonov is prepared to take legal action against the government.

Till here. A lawsuit won’t help out of the situation Saab is in now since it will take a long time. The main task is to get Saab through those times, get rid of the EIB and secure the Chinese investment. That’s where the focus needs to be.

But I can imagine that VA has some spare lawyers for the investigation. The good thing about an investigation is that it may answer some questions we all have.

When it comes to the comment of Maud’s press secretary – let’s say I’ve got a slightly different view.

100 thoughts on “Statement from Antonov”

  1. Yes. Ms Martin should be much more specific about what the government has actually done. They have consistently said they have made funds available, yet it seems these funds have not actually been put to any use. Their terms are useless and is just political shadow play.

  2. Personally it doesn’t matter to me who helps SAAB, i’ve wrote that sometimes more, yes, also mister Vladimir Antonov, but now it’s begining to be clear there are “some things” the E.I.B. and the Swedish goverment know “something” since 2009 and haven’t let it now to aother people and companies, like Vladimir Antonov and SAAB, then Vldimir Antonov get’s my fully support to help SAAB and therefore:
    Mister Vladimir Antonov: Griffin up and you’ve get more as 101% support from my side to help SAAB!

  3. I can’t help it, but I can understand and also support Mr Antonov’s decision here. EIB seem to maybe have played a dirty game here, or maybe just not paid enough attention to what’s going on in this case, or simply put drowned in it’s own EU-bureaucracy…. Nevertheless this is indeed a really strange story. EIB is owned by the EU Member States and also now another good example on how it can be within EU. I am really happy that my country still hasn’t joined the EU ;).

    VA & SAAB UP!

    Have a nice weekend.

    • I think this is a very good move of Antonov. Suing calls the cards of the EIB, and if Antonov is as clean as he says, i.e. there are no hidden problems, this would instantly raise both Antonovs reputation and Saabs financial strength. Appart from giving a lot of credit to the notion that Saabs problems are externally induced.

  4. What a sad situation ….we now have a war of words erupting (and possible law suits) between VA, the Swedish govt and EIB. We all sympathize with VA but Saab management must not be distracted….. As a Till72 says – THE SINGLE PRIORY IS TO TO GET PRODUCTION RESTARTED ASAP. Then the lawyers can go to town, hopefully find a way of getting rid of the politicians (EIB and Swdish govt) and get VA and our Chinese investors onboard. While everyone is arguing, Saab is in grave danger of bleeding to death. We need production first and recriminations later.

  5. There is off-course so many things I don’t know about in this case. But I am not sure that this move from VA against the Government will be helpful for Saab now or in the future.

    • But it may be helpful to VA who has invested millions in Saab/Spyker directly and probably also indirectly and now is casually informed that he dit it for nothing as he had no hope to be allowed to own shares in Spyker/Saab from day one. I say let VA sue the skin off those bureaucrats.


  6. I guess it is SAAB the one that suffered the damages. I fell it ought to be SAAB considering legal action for damages.
    Any lawyers here?

  7. VA can potentially – amongst other avenues – sue for defamation of character; the EIB is, by implication, suggesting that VA is not somehow ‘fit and proper’ to be an investor in Saab.

    Much more importantly, however, we (or at least, Saab) need to know what the problem is that the EIB have with VA. For instance, if they’re worried about a non-EU owner, will they ever approve the Chinese? What criteria does another investor have to meet?

    Without that information, what else can they do, but keep on proposing investors (if they find any more), only to have them knocked-back by the EIB.

    The current situation is, frankly, laughable; at the very least the EIB must just say what the matter is!

    • I totally agree with that, but why hasn’t/haven’t the E.I.B. and/or the Swedish goverment done that in the period form 2009 till now?
      In my opinion is that a big disgrace!

    • Isn’t it just a bit too silly to suggest that VA can sue a bank for not wanting to lend him, or a company he is in control of, a pile of money? A bank has the right to deny anybody a loan.

      • That’s completly true, but why didn’t they give any information about why they didn’t want Vladimir Antonov let being a partner or “money miter” for SAAB, when other organisations/people or who else gave clearance to him, in the period 2009 – (almost) august of 2011?

  8. I don’t think that any lawsuit would help SAAB out of the situation it is in right now. And I still suppose, that VA could very well be a investor in SAAB in different ways, if he wanted; only not as a shareholder.

  9. And the money goes to…….. Curacao….


    Last year 4 million from the bleeding Saab Automobile went to Victor Muller’s Latin American Tug Holding. Now has traced this company to the former tax haven of Curacao in the Caribbean.

    Anyone who reads the fine print of Saab Automobile’s annual report can see that 4 million in fees, so-called “management fees”, last year was paid to the company, Latin American Tug Holding, which previously reported. This amount included a bonus of SEK 1.8 million to Saab’s CEO and chairman Victor Muller.

    This was in addition to the compensation and bonus of 9.6 million which Victor Muller last year got from Spyker. It is also uncertain whether Victor Muller received part of the 40 million that last year was paid in “management fees” from Saab to Spyker.

    Saab’s information department refused, despite repeated requests, to comment on where Latin American Tug Holding NV is registered, what they do, or if more money was paid to the company.

    To information manager at Saab, Eric Geers, has previously said:
    – “It is Victor Muller’s company and he has decided to do this way.”

    When asked what the company’s business is based on Eric Geers said:

    – “Only Victor Muller can answer. There are many companies that have that kind of set up. Ikea is an example.”

    Now can reveal that Latin American Tug Holding is registered in the former tax haven Curacao in the Caribbean, which has favorable tax laws and where Ikea Companies have resided.

    A company called Latin American Tug Holding, followed by the initials NV, in the Curacao company registry, the Curacao Chamber of Commerce confirms.

    The abbreviation N.V. is Dutch for “anonymous company” and is a type of limited company whose shares do not have to be registered to specific shareholders.

    On January 26 this year the company changed its name to Lat Management NV The company engaged in freight and shipping operations, but also provide “management services”, especially in the automotive industry. This is shown in documents from the Curacao Chamber of Commerce.

    Victor Muller’s name is not mentioned in the documents. Instead there are two Dutchmen listed as contacts and CEO – Everardus Van Rutten and Johan Van Vlit. They represent Lat Management’s local representative company – Coral Administration and Management. This company is also a freight company, which also has a business to register offshore companies in Curacao.

    When call Coral Administration and Management its chief executive Johan van vLite is the one who answers the phone.

    Who owns Lat Management N.V?

    “I cannot tell you. It’s classified information, “he says, referring all questions about the company to Victor Muller.

    But he confirms that the company Latin American Tug Holding changed its name to Lat Management NV In January this year.

    One of the company’s activities is to provide “management services” in the automotive industry. Is Victor Muller the one who provides those services?

    “Well, it is he who does the job. But it’s better if you ask any questions to him, “said Johan Van vLite.

    Coral Administration and Management are also registered as “statutory director” at company Wijsmuller International Curacao NV, an investment company registered in Curacao, which was liquidated 2005.

    Wijsmuller was also the name of the company doing towing and salvage that Victor Muller was to join and buy out in 1991 and ten years later made a fortune from, according to the Dutch journalist Robert van den Oever and Marten van de Pas, who has written a book on Spyker.

    In connection with the company name Latin American Tug Holding NV a physical address in Holland is mentioned on a document that have read. According to the Dutch corporate register there are a variety of companies registered at the same address and many of them have the same phone number. When calls an employee at a law firm picks up the phone, but will not say whether the company is a client or not.

    Saab’s CIO Eric Geers says he can neither confirm nor deny that the company Latin American Tug Holding is registered in Curacao.
    “I know the company name, but do not know exactly where it is registered,” said Eric Geers.

    Johan Van vLite, representing Latin American Tug Holding NV, now Lat Management NV confirms that it is Victor Muller who performs the company’s “management services”. What is your comment to that?

    -“I can not confirm it, but would need to examine it in this case. But if he confirms it you may well believe it. ”

    Saab liabilities of Enforcement pile up and wages have failed again. Do you think that the payment of four million to Latin American Tug Holding last year was justified?

    -“I don’t know all the numbers. But it’s all in compliance with accounting rules we have. There is nothing strange with that. ”

    When reaches Victor Muller to bring clarity to the company, Latin American Tug Holding and its role in the payments made by Saab and Spyker, he says:

    – “I have no comments, no matter what the issue is. Read my press releases. “

      • See my post below, Saab dog.

        Of course £400,000 isn’t going to save the company, Saab’s problems are far bigger than that. But if it is, as you suggest, its a sign of a company/individual protecting its capital, surely it might be a wise move to bring that money back in order to help stop the bailiffs knocking on the door in a few days time?

        • Bringing back this money might make sense from a PR standpoint. It won’t stop the bailiffs knocking on the door. I guess what disturbs me the most is the implication of impropriety.

          • If and I mean IF, the 4 million and the 40 million went to Curacao, that is actually the amount needed to pay the salaries that are owing. Until the salaries are paid, at least I resent all comments on 44 million being small potatoes in the auto industry.

      • Saabdog, I think it is because Saab it ‘everybody’s’ pet peeve object at the moment and it doesn’t really matter what they do or don’t do.

        I can’t remember any company that got this type of scrutiny from the press in the past and we all know there are plenty of bodies lying around closets at other businesses too.

        IMHO, DI is one of the driving forces behind a skewed image of Saab and Saab’s products in Sweden. They may rationalize it as investigative journalism and that may be the case but they seldom talk about positive things and have a clear tendency to frame any news negatively.

        The past few years have shown me, and probably a few others how rotten swedish so called journalism can be and they should clean up in front of their own door before they complain about others.

        Let’s not forget that Swedish newspapers to a large extent survive on state subsidies.

        • Grumpy — I didn’t realize Swedish newspapers were subsidized by the state (I’m located in the US). This doesn’t bode well for Saab. If these kind of stories are surfacing, somebody wants VM out at Saab, and the Swedish newspapers are their mouthpiece.

        • Agreed, owners get paid LAST. I guess I can’t get my head around the dollar figure — which is correct? But on a broader issue, in my mind, nothing is as sacred as one’s reputation, and the implication of impropriety is extremely serious indeed. Whoever is planting these stories if playing with fire if they don’t have some very strong evidence to back up the insinuation.

        • Disagree.

          Without VM’s efforts Saab employees would currently be on a ‘permanent vacation’. He did what no one else was willing or able to do…give Saab a fighting chance to survive. His achievements required specialized skill, knowledge and years of experience. His efforts should be rewarded, and rewarded well. Whatever management fee he was paid (regardless of the amount) was negotiated voluntarily by both parties. In other words, everybody involved had a choice. And everybody at Saab still has the choice of whether to remain or leave and seek work elsewhere.

          I simply can not subscribe to the view that somebody should do what VM has done for Saab (and think for a moment all of the time, effort and money that has involved to this point) without being compensated for his productivity. The expectation that he should work for free is unrealistic and ignores the basic economic principle that there are many alternative uses for his time and effort. He could have focused on another project instead of Saab (that probably would have paid more for less work).

          Basically, I get annoyed when I hear people criticize somebody for having the nerve (gasp!) to be expected to be paid for their efforts. Even if anybody else would do the work for free and not accept payment until “everybody else gets paid”, nobody else did.

          As to the comment below about Saab “planning new high fees to the board and management”…one of the consequences of the mess that Saab is in is that it takes higher compensation to retain or attract employees. Aside from rabid Saab fans, who would want to accept a management position at Saab if there wasn’t a higher-than-average salary? Higher risk = higher reward.

    • More from on the the same topic.

      Debts are piling up and the employees’ salaries delayed. But Saab is still planning new high fees to the board and management. Saab does, however not want to talk about whether Victor Muller received any of last year’s payout of 40 million.

      Last year, 40 million from Saab to the parent company Spyker Cars, now the Swedish Automobile, the so-called “management fees”. That was in addition to the “management fee” of 4 million that Saab paid to Victor Muller company Latin American Tug Holding.

      In addition, Victor Muller last year, 9.6 million in compensation and bonuses from Spyker. Saab will not say if this money went to the Latin American Tug Holding.

      Saab’s information department puts the lid on and will not tell to whom that payment of 40 million from Saab to Spyker went to.

      It is thus unclear whether Muller or the company Latin American Tug Holding has received the payment. Latin American Tug Holding is registered in the former tax haven of Curacao.

      However it is clear that the cost for “management fees” will continue to be high, despite Saab’s acute crisis. It will be on a “relatively high level in 2011 since Saab remains in a restructuring phase,” writes Ms Gunilla Gustav of Saab’s information department in an email to

      Saab’s CIO Eric Geers has provided various explanations for the payment of 40 million from Saab to Spyker. To he has said that this was the remuneration of Spyker’s management “as compensation for the work they have performed for Saab”, but told the newspaper TTELA that most of the money related to fees paid to the staffs of consultants and lawyers for the work last year on the acquisition and spin-off from GM. asked for clarification on what the payment is, and after repeated requests, an email reply in English is sent.

      In the email it is stated that it is payment for services performed by Spyker’s management on behalf of Saab, including costs for the board. The payment also applies to the cost of various advisors and consultants paid by Spyker in connection with the acquisition.

      But that the acquisition would have entailed a large staff of consultants is not likely, according to the Dutch journalist Robert van den Oever, who has written a book about Spyker and who has been following Victor Muller’s business.

      “We know from earlier cases that Muller does not usually have a large group of advisers around him. He did not during the acquisition of Saab, nor in recent months when he has been working to find funding. It’s hard to believe that the costs of external consultants have been high, “he says, noting that Muller himself has said repeatedly that he works with a small group of people.

      According to Saab was the payment of 40 million including services performed by Spyker’s management. Last year, Victor Muller and Chief Financial Officer Hans Go were the only members of Spyker’s management team.

      Regarding the 40 million crowns, Eric Geers previously told

      “I can not go into what type of work this relates to or to whom compensation has been passed. A large part of Spyker’s management has helped to Saab during the turbulent period, such as Spyker’s chief financial officer. ”

      It is also unclear whether some of the payment of 40 million has gone to Rob Schuijt, who was hired as an independent consultant last year to implement the acquisition of Saab. He is described as “a key figure in the acquisition team” in the annual report and is just like Victor Muller, a recipient of Spyker’s compensation under a “management agreement”. Since last spring, he is also chief financial officer of Saab Automobile and member of the Spyker team.

      Debts at the Enforcement are piling up and wages have failed again. Do you think still that the payment of 40 million from Saab to Spyker was justified?

      “I can not say anything other than these are the sums and they are fully in accordance with accounting principles. It was the cost of a turbulent year when we built up our business and has nothing to do with that we cannot pay our debts today. ” says Geers

      But you made a loss of over three billion last year, was the payment still justified?

      “Yes, but we have said from the beginning that Saab will not make any profit until 2012. We have never said that we will make a profit in 2010 and not 2011 either.”

      The only people who can formally request information about where the money has gone is Spyker, now Swedish Automobile – where the money is said to have gone – and the Saab board.

      Spyker’s management team today consists of two people – Victor Muller and Rob Schuijt. Saab’s Board of Directors is since midsummer is reduced to two members: Victor Muller and deputy Martin Larsson. have searched Rob Schuijt no avail.

      When reaches Victor Muller, he would not comment on anything, “no matter what the issue is.”

      • RS
        I understand your point but there is an important flip side – it requires a level of empathy with how hard-suffering employees and suppliers may feel when they read reports of large fees and bonuses being paid to executives.

        • It’s not that clear cut. A business consultant told me a long time ago the following:
          The biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make is not to protect themselves and their families. He said he’s seen it too many times how owner in desperate situations throw everything in to save the company and get absolutely slaughtered in the end. Some even end up at the graveyard shortly after.

          We don’t know how much VM has on the line of his own money and it’s not our business. If he hypothetically would have lifted huge amounts last year and now when cash is scarce done the same to cause the cash crunch it would be an issue, but that’s not what has happened. All his last years compensation would not be enough to cover even the IAC bill.

          It’s like saying we should demand everybody within the Saab organization (blue and white-collar workers, upper management, JÅJ…) who received money during the post-GM era to pay it all back now that (the Swe govt with EIB’s friendly assistance?) is hindering investors to enter the company to pay these overdue bills in the first place.
          It doesn’t work that way and I believe the majority of the general public will understand this.

  10. In general terms and in better times, what is bascially £400,000 would be chump change as far as the motor industry is concerned. I’d be willing to bet that Saab itself in days gone by, will have spent that amount on product launches for dealer principals and heads of business.

    HOWEVER, these are not normal times. Mr Muller needs to explain what his company did to earn that money? Why did he not take the money for himself as an extra bonus and then pay it into that company? For what reason is that company based in Cuaraco? Was this the only payment made from Saab or have there been others?
    As I have mentioned before, £400,000 is nothing to the motor industry. But it would go a long way to clearing the £550,000 Saab need to find to clear the current outstanding bankruptcy petitions. So Mr Muller, any chance of paying that money back? And if not, why not?

      • I’m getting a little confused. Saab-Spykers accounts would appear to suggest that 4 million Kr was paid to Tug Holdings (which would equal very roughly £400,000). Is it right that it was actual 40 millionKr because would be £4,000,000? Or is this over and above the payment for 4millionKr?

        • Sorry, the 4 went there. The question is whether the 40 spent on “managment fees” went there too. if people would stop calling me I could fix the translation of that article too 🙁

          Hi Sadim,
          here is an extract of the coments policy which is also valid for you.
          No dumping

          The comments section should not be used as a dumping ground for multiple links, full news stories or elongated speculation.

          If you’ve got a news story, please email us. There’s no guarantee but we will do our very best to reply and we will see it. Often times there will be other stories that lend some perspective to the story you’ve seen and it’s better to be presented that way rather than in isolation.

          This site has a four-plus-year history of covering stuff in a timely and consistent manner that tries to make sure information is in context. I’d like to keep it that way. A couple of hours won’t kill a good story.

          If a situation is arising that’s likely to come to a climax when I’m asleep or busy with work, etc, then we’ll ask you to cover that sort of situation in a post called “You make the news….”

          Posting an entire story from another website poses several problems:

          -Potential copyright infringement (minor issue, really, but still…)
          -There may be one or two paras or sentences that are relevant, but the whole story may not be
          -If there’s a bunch of largely irrelevant whole stories, people stop reading through the comments in their entirety. I would rather leave space for larger, well considered and original comments. If people get into the habit of bypassing larger comments, then some of these big efforts will be missed.

          please refrain from dumping further articles, no matter the source.
          Your next dump will simply be deleted.
          Use the forum if you think that the story is so important. (Which I don’t)


          • Sadim, while I appreciate your enthusiasm, dumping google translated articles into comments about Antonov is really really frustrating. This was about Antonov’s statement, and instead you’ve managed to divert all talk towards Victor Muller’s compensation. Really counterproductive, and if you fall into the minutia of how the people who are saving the company are compensated. then you run the risk of losing sight of what actually needs to happen for Saab to make it out of this mess.

            You’re basically turning SU into a tabloid. please don’t.

          • Sadim,
            It’s not only about dumping complete articles into a thread of comments below a blog post, IMHO.

            If there is news in media not covered here, and to know that you will have to follow SU for some time, they have asked us to contact them, so that they can make a post, put it into context. That seems fair to me. I see it as a different matter if someone posts a comment with a link to something that is on topic, as things evolve, i.e. different media comments regarding what is covered in the blog post.

            But what you also did was diverting the topic. Fees, to Spyker et al wasn’t the topic. It is some 18 months since they bought it, and it has been mentioned that there was a lot of work involved in this, “carving out” Saab from GM. Let’s have that discussion another time, on topic. And as mentioned by some, it has been posted earlier by DI, now they tried to trace it a bit further, implying that something is “fishy”; what the heck has that to do with this?

            Seems like you are occupied with trashing everything related to Saab; and that you couldn’t stand a post about VA and that he was thinking about investigating the possibility of taking legal actions. It’s up to him.

            How about just reading the posts for a while?

          • Is there any reason why SU are not reporting these allegations from DI? In my opinion they are important to report even if they are inaccurate.

          • @ANA,
            I don’t see new information in the articles presented here by Sadim,afaik , and because Sadim has dumped them here, they have already been discussed.

          • Not everyone reads all the comments on all posts, they often just read the posts themselves – in my opinion this is significant even if it is just so we know what some people are thinking – DI has a big readership in Sweden and the form opinions. I believe tricky subjects need tackling – if they are left lurking then that is when people suspect the worst.

  11. WARNING – we’re getting focussed on relatively minor internal financial issues here about which clearly we all know very little, and indeed which may be none of our business!! The key issues today are the actions or signals given by the Swed Gov and EIB which have wasted critical time and effort at Saab when other strategies might have been progressed sooner had communications been more honest.
    Saab up! people, VA and VM are all we got, and I for one am prepared to leave these issues for another day – today is for saving Saab and supporting the guys who are STILL working to save it! 🙂

    • Seems like the news this afternoon will work as a nice deflection for that.

      “Yes the EIB and the Government have been untruthful but what is that compared to shipping money to tax haven’s in Carribean” The release of the news is well timed to keep negative focus on VM and to paint him and VA as untrustworthy entities that have no claim to Saab or anything that is Swedish.

      Sorry for the rant

      • With these latest stories hitting the press, I believe a coordinated effort is being orchestrated to smear VM. I think there’s little doubt that someone wants him out as owner of Saab. Personally, I’m not buying the implications of shady dealings.

    • I’m sorry Belfast Saab (and I don’t want to fall out with anyone on here.) but I think this is an important issue. As I have already mentioned Saab need £550,000 approx to stop the bailiffs arriving in a few days. £400,000 is a large lump of that. It has been paid to a company owned by VM, registered in a country that has a history for lax banking regulation, for services that seem vague to say the least. Why can’t VM pay that back?

      • Gawd, I’m not saying it isn’t perhaps important, but is it the MOST important thing right now?
        Until we know what it was for (and as I say, is that our business?), then we can’t ask it to be repaid. IF this was in respect of VM’s efforts in rescuing Saab from extinction 2 years ago, then based on an hourly rate, I’d say it was cheap at the price! I’m sure if it si important or relevant, it will become clear in time, but now is not a good time for Saab to be defamed in front of potential funders from China, not to mention this lets EIB/Swed Gov off the hook in the public perception of VM is portrayed a crook.
        Saab up!

        • Look at it like this:
          This story was run 2 weeks ago by most of the Swedish media.
          Now the story is rerun with some added undocumented suspicions.

  12. If there was something more to it, there are plenty of interested journalists who would have proven something by now. In my eyes offshoring your capital or income is probably just prident tax planning – this in itself I am aware is almost a crime in Sweden where paying tax is so sacred, but in most other Euro countries and the US I believe it is still ‘unpopular’ to pay more than you have to…….

  13. Look at the so called “nice” companies in the USA google etc!! They have billions outside USA just because tax planning!!

  14. All this is just an indication that the battleground has shifted to morality issues
    As I stated above it is a rerun if news from 2 weeks ago, with no added facts.
    You would have thought that the brave investigating journalist would have been able to provide a little more facts after 2 weeks

  15. In my opinion there is a concerted effort to discredit VM, VA, Saab and anyone associated with them. The Swedish Goverrnment, EIB and the media are working hand in hand against Saab, etc.

    Personally we have owned 12 Saab vehicles since 1987 (9000 turbo) and presently have three (99 Viggen, 08 9-5 SC & 09 9-3 SC) Saabs. We have enjoyed every one and have been waiting for the new 9-5 SC to arrive in the USA.
    It appears that this might not happen; so we will carry on with our present vehicles.

    As a thought for the future of Saab, If I were the new CEO, my first point of business would be to start a new company in China Using the new Phoenix Architecture, Incorporate all of the latest technology including hybrid, electric and look for another country to relocate the Saab ‘s technical staff. Sweden’s Gov’t appears to be a political nightmare to try an keep a manufacturing facility within it’s borders. I believe VM is headed in the right direction. What do you think?

  16. The govt says in one breath it has money and in another it cannot support from public funds. What is it? I know they should not subsidize SAAB, but if they can support SAAB with a decent business plan to independance, then surely it is worth it? I hope SAAB sues the govt at some point. This production stoppage, if blamed on the GOVT has cost hundreds of millions of $$

  17. Sadim,
    What is your intention with those lengthy quotes?

    These fees have been mentioned here earlier, and also discussed a bit in the media earlier. Are you trying to change the focus? Some have followed your lead.

    This post is about Antonov’s thoughts of investigating what has been said and done during this process.

    See my comment to another post today; the EIB has been acting quite weird in some cases.

    – When the request came for changed ownership, April this year, they said that they were working on it.
    – Then time passed by, they said they couldn’t comment, bank secrecy.
    – That didn’t stop their chairman to tell something to the CEO of Clepa early July
    – Now their (EIB’s) spokesperson tells us that they said no to VA in 2009, and told this to the Swedish agencies.

    What kind of response is that to a request of changed ownership this spring? They definitely have some things to explain.

    Try to stick to the topic.

  18. The timing of this bit of ‘investigative journalism’ suggests to me that this is a PR trick of the Swedish Government. They are, I believe, using their influence on certain media to create an impression of Victor Muller being a shady operator who uses tax paradises to funnel away funds from an ailng Swedish business that the Swedish authorities worked so hard to save. Actually, this way of offshoring capital is a quite normal and legitimate method of tax planning anywhere else in the world and the amounts quoted aren’t at all excessive. VM is doing nothing but trying to minimize his tax obligations IN HOLLAND. It doesn’t cost Swedish taxpayers one krona as Spyker/SWAN is a Dutch-headquartered company and liable to pay taxes in the Netherlands. And I’m quite sure the amounts paid out to Spyker/Swan are laid down in an iron-clad contract between parties. Moreover, the sale of Saab by GM to Spyker would have involved a massive number of documents and contracts and therefore doubtless required a significant number of lawyers, finance experts and corporate advisors to put everything on paper. And these experts aren’t cheap. Also, there is the bank that co-operated in the deal (DB, I believe) which without dount received a significant percentage of the sum involved. I don’t disbelieve the story about high procurement and consultancy costs regarding the takeover, it sounds plausible.


    • Not to fuel more conspiracy theories, but it strikes me as odd too that these stories came out today. Pretty pissed that Sadim felt the need to post them here on his own. Can’t delete them now, though…too much commentary attached.

  19. Just to add something to the mix. In the UK, the ‘Phoenix 4’ who took on MG Rover paid just £10 for the company and then, apparently, proceeded to pay themselves £40-50m over 4-5 years. They got a huge return for nothing.

    VM, on the other hand, has invested millions of euros of his own money into buying out Saab from GM. He deserves, IMHO, to be paid well for having provided work for Saab’s employees during this time, and for having provided a chance of survival – even if it turns out not to be.

    Otherwise, what is this all about? Why shouldn’t VM get his money back? All the other Saab employees have (until now) been paid what they’re owed. Muller, on the other hand, is still AFAIK in the hole for a lot of money.

    At the end of the day, this is capitalism. GM sold the business for capitalist reasons and VM bought it for capitalist reasons. ‘We’ all wanted him to do it. Did ‘we’ expect him not to be paid a commercial return on his investment?

    I think people are getting confused between VM as CEO / Chairman (paid a salary) and VM as part-owner and major investor, who has staked enormous amounts of money on this venture.

    There was nobody else prepared to take that sort of a risk over Saab; why should people damn the one person who did try something, who did ‘step up to the plate’ as our American cousins might say.

    If VM had wanted to rape Saab, he’d have split up the business to keep the IP separate from everything else, created a complex corporate structure, and found ways to channel very large amounts of money back to Spyker / himself by way of tax-efficient debt and complex financial instruments. Right now, I see no evidence that he’s done these things, and only some evidence that he’s been paid a pretty small, fair return on his personal investment in return for having kept Saab going for at least a year longer than expected.

    I’m open to being refuted, but I fail to see a smoking gun here. The man isn’t a martyr, and we shouldn’t expect him to behave like one; not unless, Sadim and others, you’re prepared to stake your net worth on trying to save Saab as well?

    • Well said. Nothing infuriates me more than people who think making money legally and ethically is evil. Think where Saab would be today had VM not bought the company. If you ask me, all of these whining crybabies are monday morning quarterbacks with an axe to grind.

      • And just to clarify the Dutch tax situation that VM is facing a bit further. The Dutch tax system doesn’t only tax income but also wealth. Taxing income is a fair way for a government to get revenue, you earn money, you pay tax over it once. A wealth based tax means that the tax collector will come back every year to tax your possessions, i.e. without further income ultimately they’ll take everything you have. This is pretty unfair.
        Of course this system leads to people going of-shore with their money. VM is just one of many people that have the smarts and means to avoid being robbed yearly by the Dutch tax office. So, nothing surprising in having an of-shore company in Curacao.

  20. Since this not by any means your average bank, and involves government and EU appointed people, there may very well be basis for a lawsuit.
    I am by no means saying that VA would win the case, but in a legal court it will be very hard to ignore the accusations, and as such We as people could be informed about what has been going on.
    VA has the money to drive a case through if he wants, even if he risks losing

  21. hallo saabbisten,here Belgium,

    stop please with searching and speculation,everyday is differend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    lets go starting the production of saab!!!! that is wat we need!!!h
    please stand-up !
    people of saabsweden please get out of the street,where is jour indenity of saab!!!!!


    The strategy of western countries to become service oriented economies; that eventually all production, except state of the art, will disappear from these country’s, is outdated. Not everybody has the brains to become a doctor or a lawyer. There are simply to many people there that need an honest job and governments start to realize that.

    The US are now to rebuild their society, says Barack Obama. Reindustrialisation will be the goal.They started it three years ago by simply buying General Motors, since then called Government Motors. So far for free market economies in the US.
    What about the free market economy in China? Oops, still a communist country. Chinese company executives make a deal and then have to ask “Big Brother” for permission.
    France and Germany live from their automotive industry and will do everything to protect it.
    Sweden has been able to maintain a solid technologic based industry and could very well become a good example for this new economic strategy too, if it wanted so.

    And then there is Maud Olofson claiming the government cannot be more involved than
    it is. Cannot? They don’t want to!
    Why is that? Have they lost all faith in Saab? Is she still living in the 80’s? Is it ideology?

    Let’s get real dear Swedes:
    You don’t even have an idea about the impact of the Saab brand outside Sweden.
    Sometimes I feel like you still live in the sixty’s when Volvo was for the people and Saab for the capitalists at least in Sweden.
    You don’t even bother to imagine the possibillty’s of a brand like Saab.
    In the early ninety’s Apple was a computer manufacturer with state of the art technology, and bad financial results, for smart people like architects, designers, lawyers etc.(does this ring a bell?) It was swept away by Microsoft and cheap pc’s. I wish I had bought 1000 shares back then.
    Then they combined a walkman with a hard disk. The rest is history.

    So what can we learn from this.
    Sweden, is run by people with an prejudice against Saab, both government and private investors. They think it is impossible to make a profit with Saab. They refuse to see the basic qualities of Saab and refuse to see new chances where they are obvious.
    They lack imagination.

    Now why should the Swedish government or a solid Swedish private investment fund
    (think of the SEB or “IKANO group Ikea” family) invest in Saab?
    Because the Saab brand is essentially Scandinavian and not lacking new product, technology, lean production facilities or brand identity, but customer confidence.
    That can only be restored when a very solid preferably Scandinavian party (Antonov is a little Russian fish ) is involved, in a way that leaves no doubt about their intentions, so customers and the rest of the industry know that Saab will be around for a while.
    Then sale’s will climb, a new 9.3 and 9.2 (think Ipod) can be introduced and Saab is on track, like the Hepstars evolved into Abba.
    Stock prices rise and the investor can make a sound profit.

    • aap, what a very nice piece of text you have wrote and i can do only two thing:
      1. Give you a big applause!
      2. Completly agree with what you have wrote!

    • “And then there is Maud Olofson claiming the government cannot be more involved than
      it is. Cannot? They don’t want to!
      Why is that? Have they lost all faith in Saab? Is she still living in the 80’s? Is it ideology?”

      This hidden agenda now has to be official to us all.

      Yes, as an answer to your questions… yes, unfortunetely. But there is something called justice still… This government had its last chance to make things right, after decades of not that much more impressive government from the social democrats (I do not like poltics at all, but it´s a reality). None of them have impressed me and i will make a blank vote for the first time in my life after this.

      So in a way I glad all this shit happend. It has revealed the truth.

  23. get back to the main points I think:

    1. VA asks to be a share holder. The government EIB led him astray? What did his laywers do?

    2. No salaries one time and an apology by VM….this will never happen again

    3. Couple of weeks later it happens again

    4. Chinese saviours. They pay in advance but will have securties no doubt. So no cars….what will they have/own?

    5. Now no money that was promised……no securities on Saab side?

    6 . EIB VA never ever as in 2009 and we have said so fom the beginning. what did VM / VA laywer do or does VM do all by him self as he every now and then proudly announces as he was a M&A laywer once?

    7. So who has been gambling …….who has been bidding with discounts on he EIB loans….Russian roulette with Saab? I hope not.

    8 The goverment and EIB just do not give a dam what will happen.

    9. Duing all of his the brand got again a severe hit……is that the price of gambling with a company

    I keep my fingers crossed but feel that on the one hand there is more then meets the eye on he other that Saab is played with like with a small business in trouble forgetting that other rules apply here

    • I don’t know where you get your information, or if you mix up some things.

      “2. No salaries one time and an apology by VM….this will never happen again”

      As far as I know VM didn’t comment on that, in June. The workers were back Tuesday 28 June, and it seems like some of them thought that he was also going to address them at that time, at least from some comments in Swedish media at the time, I know that since remember reading it, and didn’t think that it would happen at that time, as I was sure he was busy, since this was before they were paid. He was then, I assume, working hard with the sales process of shares in the property etc. etc. So they had the usual talk with their management, that time.

      What you might refer to is his talk after they started the production, that later stopped again. But that has nothing to do with the salaries. Or, not mentioned in the media, he indeed had a chat with the workers after the salaries were paid. As for the rest, it’s a bit difficult to follow your comments.

  24. Today I have a thought for the SAAB workers that havent got paid and cant pay there bills until monday! 🙁 I feel for you all!!

    • I was under the impression that the union had arranged loan facilities to pay the salaries to those (union members) who requested them, the loan to be paid back either (a) by Saab or, if the worst happened, by (b) the Government under its various protection measures.

      I may be wrong, and I know that not all affected Saab employees are union members, but what I have read leads me to believe that hardship will be reduced for many. Not at all great times for anybody, but better than nothing.

      How are licence plate holder sales going?

  25. This thread is not pretty and I really dont want to comment other than say this.

    Where the heck is TimR with that good news he promised last night!!! 🙂

  26. Thank God I´m married and too old for that amazing russian guy I guess… I said it before, but I sure do love Antonov 😉

    GO FOR IT, ANTONOV! It´s not fair what they´ve done to SAAB and you guys, and I sure do hope it will cost!

    Sometimes there has to be justice in this rotten world.

  27. Smart move VA, pissing off Swegov who you need to get EIB approval :).

    I mean is this guy brilliant or what? ;).

    Get serious, get the money get it done – or go home – that pretty much sums up my feelings right now.

    • Mynoob,
      I thought everybody would know by now that the EIB has stated that they will never let Mr. Antonov in as long as Saab is lending money from them, and that the Swedgov did know about that during the last one and a half years.

      So, no EIB approval achievable means no need to be utterly friendly to the Swedgov.

  28. What I like about the Saab-brand and the Saab-cars are first off all the integrity that most other car-makers lack. That the thoughts, innovations and care for the driver/customer/human made by the clever engineers are expressed all the way through. That there is coherence between inside and outside. That the shape is “materialized philosophy and ethics”.
    It is some evil kind of irony that exactly this car-company, of all, is now becoming the ball in the ball-game off politicians, the press and what might be economical speculators (???).
    One thing is; Will Saab survive? Another thing is: Will Saab survive as Saab – with the Saab-spirit intact?
    I surely hope so – but honestly I can now and then have my doubts… Do the implicated parts really know and care about the real values off Saab? (Which is about much more then money!)

    • The implicated parties don´t know and don´t want to know. They are not a scrap interested in Saab. They are too ordinary to imagine its value. However I believe the pure Saab spirit will survive and anyways I get the feeling Saab will survive – waiting for TimR and his plane landing in Sweden. Have a nice weekend driving your Saab. 🙂

  29. Villy Antonov and the Swedish Factory would make a wonderful fairy tale. Imagine a place where little Troll like creatures called Oompa-Loompas lovingly and willingly make Saabs all day long for a hand full of cacao beans since they need no money.

    A place where Augustus Gloop pretends to work for Villy but actually works for the Volvonicious Knids.

    Oompa-Loompa loompity doo, I think I have GM in my shoe, Oompa-Loompa loompity dee I blame it all Saabs problems on EIB. Oompa-Loompa loompity doo and for fun I think I’ll sue you!

  30. I hope that someone finally (whoever be Anotonov himself or somebody else; it doesn’t matter to me) saves Saab and the brand continues to flourish and produce nice, reliable and safe cars. It is also to our best interests, as being Saab cars owners, that the brand continues to exist otherwise our cars will heavily depreciate and it would be very hard to find spares in the future. Let’s hope that a solution will be found for Saab to survive once more and get going strong!

    PS: It is also strange (and surprising) that one of the best, most intriguing and interesting posts in this thread was off-topic!

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