Just when we thought the situation couldn’t get any more complicated, one of Saab’s greatest allies who enabled the sale to Spyker in the first place was arrested and charged with siphoning assets. While he’s of course innocent until proven guilty, his bank will now be liquidated and it’s safe to say his life as a high flying financier is about to change dramatically. The timing, to put it mildly, couldn’t be worse.
So how does this affect the sale of Saab? Fortunately, Latvia’s Financial Services Authority FCMC isn’t going to pursue the money loaned from Antonov to Victor Muller’s company Tenaci over a year ago. In an email to TT reported by di.se, they wrote that it’s not part of their mission to recover funds in a case like this. Whether that means Tenaci is now free of debt to Antonov is dubious, merely that Antonov if found guilty would be on the hook for the money that is missing.
Amazingly, most of the parties don’t seem to be deterred by the news, aside from making sure that the sale isn’t encumbered by any legal challenges by the developing Latvian situation. We’ve heard that even GM isn’t terribly concerned about it, much more about conditions necessary for a transfer of ownership (and who they’re willing to allow to own it). Though negotiations continue in all directions, there are signs coming to us that progress is being made on multiple fronts. All parties understand the urgency given that salaries are past due, and they’re simultaneously trying to protect their own bottom lines while preserving the deal. It’s as if they’re juggling while walking a tight rope. The news that the FCMC isn’t pursuing Tenaci’s debt should help ease at least one possible path to Saab’s rescue, which at this point appears to be the path of least resistance. Whether or not all sides choose that path is anyone’s guess though (edit: sources in the know say the structure of a deal that GM will approve is near).