Possible consequences for Saab

Last night a representative for the lithuanian finance & bank inspection argued that the money they claim is missing from the banks, and partly what the prosecutors arrest warrant was based on, has been transfered into Saab. If that is the case they are going to act in a way to get them back. This can not be good news at all for SWAN/Saab.
As fragile everything is now this latest story was not in any way positive. Lets hope the legal system in lithuania gets this case closed soon.

53 thoughts on “Possible consequences for Saab”

  1. Too much “IF” and lack of verified information and legal knowledge here I am sorry.

    Either you do know something and you want to tell it to the Saab world, either you do NOT know anything really precisely and in such legal matter it is better to get a verified information and a legal advice by the way.

  2. If this is true it’s no good news.

    Sure I’m thinking up alot of things right now but GM has been against Antonov and China as investors from day 1. (Probably old “Big Red” cold war thoughts).

    If they can they probably would use every means necessary to use this excuse to get rid of SAAB and force it into a bad state.

    What better then a “commie” scamming a bank and a foreign goverment reclaiming the money and forcing Saab being shut down ? I don’t think highly of GM and it wouldn’t suprise me if they take every chane they can.

    OK, tin foil hat off now. =)

    • Cold War? Too funny. Business numbers, control-oriented bureaucracy, and consensus-driven mediocrity drive GM.

      GM doesn’t want competition from a former brand.
      GM doesn’t want competition in China from a former brand.
      GM doesn’t want its intellectual property (licenses) in the wrong hands.
      GM doesn’t want its intellectual property in the wrong hands in China.
      GM doesn’t want competition from a former brand, especially in China, using the same vehicle platform and technology as Buick.

  3. To me there is a big difference between embezzling money and lending money to a company (as I recall, it was quite public news at the time as well). The latter is what banks typically tend to do.

    Also keep in mind: NDO’s preliminary report is the one that kept Antonov away from Saab. If the crime he was accused of then is the same he is being charged with now, well, the timeline does not add up.

    I have a feeling this case is not so black and white as the prosecutors might like.

    • Financial crimes never are black and white, but in saabs case it was never portrayed that bank snoras wanted to invest in Saab, it was always VA , himself, the multi millionaire.

      You can’t own a bank, and then use it as your personal piggybank, which in a nutshell, seems to be what they allege he was doing, but along the way , disguising the loans as genuine arms length loans to entities that appear not to exist.

  4. Why does Volkswagen want to buy Alfa Romeo, but not Saab? (today I read the rumor that there is a whole department at Volkswagen already working on design studies for Alfa; as you will know, Alfa’s former designer is now the design boss at Volkswagen) Why did Saab fall so deep? Anybody out there with money to invest? Siemens? Apple? Renault? Warren Buffet?

    • How deep? Tried to find a translation for the German term “Glücksritter”, but there does not appear to be a direct translation. Linguee turns up “Bounty hunters”, “fortune seekers”.

    • VW and Alfa Romeo. Good god I hope not!!! Alfa s my brand after Saab. Keep Das Boring away from Alfa and Saab. VW are the Euro equvalent of a Kia hence rhe whole Das Boring.

      • In case you haven’t recognised yet: There is no Alfa any more.

        -159 production stopped end of October, plant converted to Fiat models. No successor in sight. No platform either, after Thesis and Croma are also stopped. Maybe a Chrysler rebadge could follow in 2014, called Giulia.
        -No 166 successor, all plans vanished from recent publications
        -No Alfa specific plant left
        -No Alfa museum; closed until the last commandm err further notice. The Italian state put a hold on plans to sell the historic collection.
        -No Alfa development center; merged into big Fiat
        -MiTo and Giullietta are Fiat models with different bodies
        -No Alfa specific engines any more. The only remaining advantage is that new Fiat tech sometimes shows up in Alfas first.
        No Alfa specific technology any more. Giullietta’s front suspension ight actually be licenced HiperStrut.

        As I doubt that someone like Victor Muller, but with tenfold more money, will show up to reopen the Arese plant and start developing Alfa Alfas, Alfa is dead. So, I think that Volkswagen is the best you can hope for.

    • VW and Alfa Romeo. Good god I hope not!!! Alfa s my brand after Saab. Keep Das Boring away from Alfa and Saab. VW are the Euro equvalent of a Kia hence the whole Das Boring.

      • Oh, and actually, it is “Der” Boring, not “Das” boring, in German :-)). Only some cars are “Die” (female), like Die Giullietta, Die DS etc.

      • Me again ;-). Would you call Bentley boring? Lamborghini? Bugatti? All Volkswagen managed brands. Bentley is incredibly successful on the Phaeton platform; actually, I believe that only the Continental made that platform profitable, not the Phaeton. I am pretty sure that Volkswagen’s interest in Alfa is based on exactly this perception of yours. They want a brand that is more mass compatible than Bentley or Bugatti, but has no “Der Boring” apeal to it. Hence, they have recognised that they need another more emotional brand; “Auto Emocion” for Seat did not work out.

        • Thyl, the Mulsane is Boring compared with the Ghost, and the Continental, without a B wouldn’t be that interesting either.
          Bugatti is the less interesting sports car of the world, compare it with an Agera, and Lambo shows what “Das Boring” can do to a brand with history. The Lambos look good, and the engines they use are also quite good, but when you seat in a Lambo you see all the switches of an Audi. If GM shouldn’t do it with Saab, “Das Boring shouldn’t either with a Lambo or a Bentley, yes I’ve seen VW parts in a Continental.

          • Will not argue, not in the mood. I would however rejoice if Saab could come up with something non-too-boring, with a dashboard like in the AeroX etc. I am so fed-up with all this kitsch in chrome and wood, black and leather. And I want colour on my car, not some paler shade of black.

            • Mercedes never intended to promote Maybach, and since 2002 the Model (the looked exactly as an S-class) never changed.
              Now they want to call it Merc S600 Pullman, which makes much more sense.

              Maybach was too old as a brand, and not many outside Germany did even know that brand, or the cars.

    • I like Alfa, but it seems like Saab would be such a better deal for VW. Saab has a US distribution network (Alfa does not), Saab has 3 cars, in various segments at various price points. Alfa is lacking. Saab has a next-gen platform and is deep into the design process (ng 9-3), Alfa keeps restarting theirs (159 replacement, etc). Saab knows how to build quality at a value price (something VW is trying to do). Saab has electronics that work (VW and Alfa, not so much). Chinese interest in Saab is high, but I assume they would be open to Alfa too, so not sure this would be a big selling point.

      I would like to see Saab stay alive as an independent company, but I really don’t see that happening so survival as a brand is more important at this point.

      • Not so sure if this could be a plot for Volkswagen. Boring it may be or not (see discussion above), but I’m pretty sure that the idea is to build Alfas on one of Volkswagen’s modular platforms. Maybe even on the Audi platform, which is presently only used by Audi.

        The nice thing about Alfa is that they could make a complete relaunch, with totally new models, first build in Ingolstadt, Germany, together with the Audis, later on in a re-opened plant in Italy, e.g. in Arese, to emphasize the Alfa tradition. The value of Alfa is in the reputation of the brand; nothing else is left.

        With Saab, there is too much redundancy, Saab having it’s own platform, development department, testing facilities etc. And an assembly.

  5. I have my doubts on these ‘news’, they are simply to much of everything. The usual behaviour is to not leave out any details until a hearing or trial is done. How can a representative for the lithuanian finance & bank inspection sit in a TV interview and argue where the money has gone before the investigation is ready and Antonov etc people are heard.

    It is also said that 1.3 billion dollars have been lifted from Snoras and the same amount from Krajbank in August (total 2.6 bill dollars). That’s quite an amount. I don’t know if VA has been involved in any financing of Saab since August, hasn’t it been strictly Chinese business? The money is definately not at Saab accounts.

    Doesn’t it seem a bit stupid to take the equivalent of 18 billion SEK/ 2 billion Euro from the bank, and walk on with life as usual and think no one will discover. To my humble belief VA is not stupid.

    I may be wrong but this ongoing news could be some kind of set-up, so it could be wise to take every word for true.

    • If about 2 milliard (US: billion) euros went missing from the two Baltic banks in the course of 2011 then that embezzlement -if it is one; don’t forget there has been no tangible evidence presented so far that it was; and if it was, we still don’t know who was responsible because that’s what is being investigated; there is also this other bank director who hasn’t turned himself in- cannot have anything to do with a 50 million euro loan by Antonov/Snoras to VM/Tenaci late in 2009. If a bank loans an entrepreneur the funds to buy a business then that would seem -to me, at least- to be nothing more than everyday regular banking business. After that, VA has been banned from investing in Saab. Maybe he did so more or less anonymously via some offshore vehicle but a. if he did then the amounts involved are nowhere near billions of euros and b. there is no proof (yet) that it was illegal.

      Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that Antonov did or didn’t do something illegal. I just don’t know and neither do all these commenters who have already sentenced Antonov here. We simply need to wait for information before passing judgment instead of getting off half-cocked.


  6. Without knowing anything about the case, these might be some of consequences:
    – Negotiations will be delayed. The books of Swan and Saab will be looked at and tested into detail, and the flows and the legal / contractual documentation verified and so on. To avoid legal risks, auditors upon request of negotiators will review everything.
    – The risk obviously is, that there will be additional liabilities, that are not accounted for. Remember the quarterly report for Q3 was delayed by a month.
    – Not just the current, but also all the previous transactions and business activity of VA will be reviewed in detail, as well as his overall financial situation and holding constructions. It is quite clear, that not just Saab, but he as the main shareholder would have to pay out of his private wealth, in case money disappeared from the accounts.
    – VM will be out of the picture and have no future with respect to Saab. Even in the best case, if VA would be cleared and be innocent, and that might last months, if not quarters or even years, VM as the the person, who brought VA in with respect to Saab, is just a burden with respect to credibility.
    – I doubt, that this facilitates GM’s case to let Saab die. It was GM selecting first Koeniggsegg and then Spyker, two boutique supercar producers with limited resources and know-how to manage and supervise a big industrial operation, though other more apt and financially powerful groups applied for the takeover of Saab. GM at that time enforced VA to step out as the shareholder of Spyker, but certainly knew about the hidden construction with Tenaci. GM to the contrary will have an interest to find a long-term sustainable solution to avoid litigation risks.

    • michaelb, NDO (Riksgälden) said this spring that they have continuous contact with Saab. It is my understanding that they are monitoring Saab and I doubt there is any wiggle room to allow much financial hijinks. Not of this character.

        • I simply fail to understand the relevance.

          If Y borrows money from X, and X turns out to have lent money that does not belong to X, then as long as Y acted in good faith, it would be difficult for the real owner of the money to reclaim it all in one go?

          My thinking is that the Lithuanian state (who are now the defacto owners of Snoras?) will have to continue the loan on the terms originally agreed upon.

          Either way, the loan should be in Saab’s books. It is not as if they used cash from a hidden stash of money, right?

          • Any loan up the food chain, from Saab, via swan is in all likelihood non performing at this stage.

            If its non performing, then you call the loan, if that doesn’t work, then you go after the collateral .

            If the entity that you are supposed to deal with is some outfit in curaçao, then….good luck with that.

            • Question is: How would that be illegal?

              I think a lot of lenders are trying to call home loans at the moment from entities that are nonperforming, and having lost a lot of value on the collateral.
              I would really like to see bankers in that situation go to trial for gross misjudgement and cunduct, but I don’t that is common practice as far as I have seen up until now

              Regarding the Curacao outfits..where did that come from?. Not that it would be illegal anyway.

  7. It looks more like a setup than anything.
    The timing first, and now pointing at SAAB and VM as possible beneficiaries of untregistered loans ? Why shouldn’t they have registered the loans at the bank? That’s really to say that if VA would be THAT stupid he wouldn’t survived and gotten that far businesswise.

    Everyone deserves a fair trial and the benefit of doubt until charged guilty, but we may well be extremely surprised by the outcome of all of this.

    • Yes, the timing is interesting. If you look at from the other angle, what strings would a bureacrat in the financial sphere pull if he would want to cut VM and VA out of the deal currently being negotiated with GM. It’s also known that neither ECB nor russian central banks liked VA. Also, the figures seems low for a real bank fraud, and if, as preveiously claimed, Snoras was used for money laundering, why risk THAT bank when he got several others. Doesn’t make sense to me. Let’s see what happens.

        • I usually don’t like conspiracy theories either. However, in the last years of the SAAB saga, the conspiracy theorists have been right (at least) twice so far. And, similar allegations has been made before but has been turned down by the courts. So a reasonable question is, were these allegations fairly correct and they just strengthened their case, or is this somebody that want to have a revenge and create a case out of smokescreens? In this case, ruling out the latter is hard to do.

          But of course, we have to wait and see.

  8. I’d like to point out to what happened to Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
    Th owner of the russian petroleum company Yukos who suddenly found himself jailed for fraud. And this has “nothing” to do with him politically opposing Vladimir Putin.

    Amnesty International do not think that was a fair trial.

    • Well, he _is_ a criminal, no doubt about that. The problem is, he was jailed for some made-up crimes, maybe because the real ones are related to other businessmen and officials who are free (and the second problem is that they are free 🙂 ). That may not be a fair trial, but but you should have no illusions, almost all russian oligarchs and high officials have something unlawful done. It was absolutely wild and insane times 20 years ago in Russia, no rules, no strong government, just “OK, Soviet Union is no more, do whatever you want!”, so the question was who will survive, not who is not breaking the law. Now it is more or less stabilized, but based on the deal of those who won and survived, not on law. It would take quite a time to sort it out.

      • Antonovs family has good standing in Russia his grandfather was on the inner team that made and exploded the first nuclear device in the old Soviet Union. His mother worked in a so called number city working as a scientist on plutonium enrichment.

  9. Why are they targeting SAAB? Antonov also piled cash into Portsmouth FC and CPP Holdings, both here in the UK. So where did that money come from? It all looks very strange, especially as the EIB and NDO were watching the VM/VA situation very closely – the prosecutors claim seems frail.

    • It is absolutely the prosecutors duty to look at everything, including Saab. If they have any indication, that customer money has been stolen / unduly lent to somebody, they have to look at what has happened exactly. This is not a small thing, and certainly not for two such small countries like Lithouania or Latvia.

  10. This is definitely shaking already weak situation around SAAB. The real key now is the Chinese. I think that after this Antonov’s affair, Victor is out of the game. It has been noticed that Victor was put aside regarding the negotiations and the key players are the Chinese plus the re-constructor Lofalk. My feeling is that the real test will be the salaries: if teh Chinese send the money to SAAB then I think they will go to the end and acquire SAAB. If the salaries don’t come soon, SAAB is on the edge and the end is near. But it is never over until is over!!!!

  11. “The money of Sonora bank on accounts of Saab” story looks like a bad game to interrupt negotiations of a deal. Looks like the time VA tried to get a stake of Saab some time ago.
    As the govs and courts in eastern Europe are acting different as in middle Europe it’s not easy to say if someone is really guilty. I follow the sentence not guilty until it’s manifested by a trusted party.

    • Who will play the roles, guess we need Hollywood characters since Swedish ones does not cut it for the ever so big US market?
      Piece of trivia Stieg Larsson´s trilogy scored an EMMY award in NY the other day for Best “MINI-Series of 3 long play movies “. So what has Hollywood done well a second rate remake in English with Daniel Craig.

  12. It is rather compelling-if quite stressful.
    If it has a good outcome it is a film certainty
    -if “The Social Network ” can be a film then so can Saab-the true story”

  13. you have got to be kidding me! this saga just keeps getting stranger by the minute. what was a horrible situation has just become even worse. I truly feel sad for all the SAAB employees that have given their life to make this brand come alive. how sad it must be for them to watch it all come crumbling down to the ground after so many false promises. I have my 2006 SAAB 9-5 at least, but what are they left with if SAAB is liquidated???

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