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The sale of Saab to Spyker was delayed due to suspicions that one of the Dutch exotic car maker’s major shareholders had ties to the Russian mafia. According to a recent report by Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri, the Swedish security force Sapo investigated former Spyker shareholder Alexander Antonov and determined that there was “strong suspicion” of ties to organized crime.
That information was then relayed to the FBI, and on to the U.S. government, which essentially told General Motors to put a hold on the sale.
Not long after, Antonov and his investment firm Convers Group, sold back $4.6 million in shares to CEO Victor Muller, paving the way for a new bid, which was successful.
Neither General Motors, nor Spyker have made any official comment on the matter.
[Source: Dagens Industri via Fox News]
Spyker CEO says GM has responded to offer and that European Investment Bank will need to play a role
There are almost too many stories and rumors about Swedish automaker Saab to keep up with, as the latest reports suggest not one but two Dutch billionaires are involved in a new deal that would see Spyker purchase the loss-making division from General Motors.
Dutch business daily Het Financieele Dagblad suggests Dutch media tycoon John de Mol, who listed in the 2005 Forbes magazine wealthiest 500 people in the world issue, is the secret backer. De Mol, who owns production company Endemol with Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, as well as parts of telecommunications company Versatel and a part of Manchester United, also used to own one third of Spyker but sold his shares off several years ago.
The other rumored investor is another Dutch billionaire, Marcel Boekhoorn, who currently owns a 5.7 percent stake in Spyker.
Regardless of who is investing, the more important issue seems to be who is not, as Spyker’s 11th hour proposal is reported to have only been acknowledge by GM as it didn’t include Spyker’s Russian investors. Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, reported that Russian investors Vladimir and Alexander Antonov, who own a 29.3 percent stake in Spyker, are no longer a part of the Spyker purchase.
General Motors feared Russian involvement as it believed the Russians might utilize Saab technology for other ventures in Russia – a market which GM sees as emerging and which it wants for itself.
With Dutch backers reportedly piling on and Russian ones leaving, Saab may be saved yet. However, according to a recent Bloomberg report, Spyker will still need to secure a significant loan from the European Investment Bank; likely in the absence of the Russian funds. Spyker CEO Victor Muller said as much, commenting that the EIB would need to get involved but the General Motors has looked at Spyker’s new proposal and that the two parties are talking and looking to find a solution that would save Saab.
Russian Billionaire Alexander Antonov, the owner of Dutch supercar maker Spyker, has survived an assassination attempt.
The incident happened outside Anatonov’s house in Moscow where he was shot at 18 times. He was struck five times in the stomach, once in the chest and another time on one if his fingers, which was apparently blown completely off.
One of Antonov’s security guards was also wounded in the leg during the incident.
His condition is not life threatening and while the police have begun a search for his attacker no arrests have yet to be made.
Antonov’s net worth is estimated to be roughly $3.5 billion.
Spyker recently launched it’s latest car, the all-new C8 Aileron (pictured above) at the Geneva Auto Show.