Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov‘s spokesman has branded the Swedish government as having “no interest” in the automotive industry and only engaged in safeguarding its own outlook.

Antonov – who has been repeatedly thwarted in his attempts to invest in Saab – most notably by the European Investment Bank (EIB) – is now taking more of a back seat as the automaker battles for survival.

The Russian’s spokesman – Lars Carlstrom – was responding to a robust defence made to just-auto last week by a spokeswoman for Swedish Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson of the government’s actions during the Saab saga.

“They [government] has no interest in the industry at all, especially not Saab,” Carlstrom told just-auto from Sweden. “The only thing they have been doing is protecting their own interests – that is what they have been up to and nothing else.

“It is probably the only government in the world that is acting in this way. Vladimir Antonov is extremely disappointed and therefore he is focusing on his other business.”

Carlstrom said the government was only interested in looking after its own money, although he said: “That has never, ever been at risk of course.”

Last week the Enterprise Ministry spokeswoman told just-auto it had been in close contact with the company all along and guaranteed the loan that made it possible to survive in 2009.

“The government is very engaged and involved in the well-being of the Swedish automotive industry. We have been clear there are limits to what we can do – it is not for the Swedish government to buy Saab,” she said.