Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov‘s spokesman is branding as “disgraceful” today’s news (28 July) the European Investment Bank (EIB) told the Swedish government it would not accept his partner’s bid to become a part-owner of Saab.
The extraordinary development came on the same day Saab’s major white-collar union said it would contemplate bankruptcy proceedings against the automaker if the temporary halt in its members’ wages was not reversed.
“We have been talking to the Swedish government and they just blame the EIB,” Antonov’s spokesman Lars Carlstrom told just-auto. “They are not helpful at all, they have been disgraceful for some time.
“We had about 100 lawyers working in the process, answering questions from the EIB – we have been spending so much time on this process when they had a clear agenda not to approve us anyway. We are so disappointed with both the EIB and the Swedish government.”
Condemning the situation as “totally unacceptable,” Larstrom also raised the possibility the issue could come under the microscope of the European Commission to “explore what kind of actions we need to take here.”
Larstrom confirmed Antonov would not be in a position to help Saab pay its wages to white-collar [salaried] staff.
“We are not able to pay salaries at Saab as we are not [allowed] to pay anything for Saab, due to the EIB restrictions,” said Carlstrom.
The EIB confirmed to just-auto from Luxembourg it had contacted the Swedish government at the start of negotiations and prior to signature of the bank loan.
“The loan application was submitted in early 2009 and the loan was approved in 2010,” an EIB spokesman told just-auto, adding it had “been the policy of the EIB to not accept Mr Antonov taking part in the ownership structure of Saab.”