SWEDEN: "We have not tried to fool Saab": Government
Sweden's Enterprise Ministry has reacted strongly to the widening crisis at Saab following comments made by Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov after the European Investment Bank (EIB) revealed it would not accept his ownership bid for the automaker.
Antonov angrily condemned news the EIB would not accept his proposal, claiming it, and the Swedish government, had "acted against the interests of all parties concerned" and raised the possibility of pursuing a claim for damages.
But the Swedish government has fought back, insisting it had behaved correctly in the matter, which continues to see Saab's Trollhattan factory shuttered and all white-collar staff going without salaries.
"The important message from us today is we have not tried to fool Saab and the Swedish people, or anyone else," an Enterprise Ministry spokeswoman in Stockholm told just-auto. "What happened yesterday was really no news, apart from the fact the EIB abandoned their policy of bank secrecy.
"These conditions [for] the loan originated in 2009 - it was around that time the EIB informed the Swedish authority [ies] about this - we have known about these conditions. What has happened since then is Saab sent in a new application regarding the possibility of making Antonov the owner of Saab and the EIB told us in April this year."
The spokeswoman added the Swedish National Debt Office (SNDO) went through the same application, followed by the EIB, with Saab "aware of this all along because they signed the papers when they got the loan from the EIB. Saab put its hopes to this new application."