SWEDEN: Antonov mulls damages claim as Saab saga deepens
Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov is to look into the possibility of claiming damages following yesterday's (28 July) news the European Investment Bank (EIB) told the Swedish government it would not accept his bid to become a part-owner of Saab.
Efforts by Antonov to take a share in struggling Saab have been plunged into confusion as both the Swedish government and the Russian are now appearing to take contradictory positions.
The crisis was triggered by the (EIB) breaking cover and announcing it "had been the policy of the EIB to not accept Mr Antonov taking part in the ownership structure of Saab."
Antonov, about whom rumours of money laundering previously circulated, was cleared this April by the Swedish National Debt Office (SNDO), but those hopes now appear to have been dashed.
However, in a very strongly-worded statement this morning (29 July) Antonov expressed his frustration at being denied the chance to become a Saab shareholder, noting he had previously offered EUR100m (US$143m) to the automaker to secure liquidity and ensure that production at Trollhattan - now halted - continued.
"It is my opinion that by actively denying SWAN [Swedish Automobile] and Saab Automobile access to the funding I offered to provide ,which these companies required and still require desperately, both EIB and SG [Swedish Government] have acted against the interests of all parties concerned," he said in a statement released this morning.
"I have therefore decided to instruct counsel to investigate the possible legal actions, including but not limited to claims for damages,which may be instituted by various parties at interest,including me."
However, the Swedish government is maintaining it has acted correctly in the matter, citing a "new application" from Saab sent in April this year that the EIB would examine.
"We [Swedish government] have never said yes or no to him [Antonov] before," a spokeswoman for Sweden's Enterprise Ministry told just-auto from Stockholm. "It is the EIB and General Motors who have said no to him before - its them who need to change their no to a yes."