With some might say cruel timing, today's (23 June) news that Saab cannot sign the cheques for its employees' wages, comes the day before Sweden's traditional midsummer public holiday when the country prepares to enjoy the very long nights.

Well, not it seems for Saab employees, who were told the unhappy news that June's pay cheques would not be paid into their bank accounts.

Despite the natural shock, the development is perhaps something Saab's 4,000 or so staff must have been preparing for for some time. Despite all the brave words and talk of white knights - Hawtai, Pang Da, Youngman, Vladimir Antonov anyone? - the inability of Saab to pay its workers could herald the start of the four horsemen saddling up.

The scale of that crisis can be measured by a press conference ostensibly called today by the Swedish Enterprise Ministry to discuss energy, that was unsurprisingly, completely hi-jacked by the Saab saga.

The Swedish government is like a rabbit in the headlights here. It's come in for some fierce criticism for its slowness in handling the affair - in contrast say some to other countries' dealings with their automakers' woes - but it has repeatedly stressed in the past it has acted as swiftly as possible when required.

The - silent - elephant in the factory appears to be the European Investment Bank (EIB). As provider of EUR400m (US$566m) in loans it has seemed to act as arbiter in every one of those previously-cited white knights' bids to enter into some sort of stake in Saab.

There are going to be some pretty bitter questions asked of the Luxembourg bank as to why it did not appear to act with greater haste in attempting to stave off what to many seems an inexorable slide to bankruptcy.

"The EIB has much bureaucracy - sometimes it looks as if they are too far away from here" - main Saab union IF Metall national bargaining secretary Vele-Pekka Saekeala told just-auto, today before launching a scathing attack on the Swedish government.

"When we have this crisis in 2008/2009, when other countries and States helped, this government did not do anything," he said. "We are very disappointed with them because many of our members lose jobs."

The union has one more ace up its sleeve to ensure its members are paid, although this would surly signal the end of Saab. Bankruptcy.

It could go through the courts to secure its members' money if the court says Saab is bankrupt. The Swedish government would then it appears have to pick up the tab, which in turn would see the administration return to Saab to secure its cash.

Pang Da, Hawtai, Youngman, Antonov, EIB, Muller, National Debt Office, Swedish government, IF Metall, suppliers, workers, the players in this game are legion and complex.

It would take all of them to come together in one vast concerted action that would see Trollhattan employees start to pick up wage cheques and the production lines start rolling.

And that looks an awfully long way off from here.

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