Russian businessman finances Saab deal

Vladimir Antonov, the Russian businessman forced to step aside as a condition of the takeover of Saab by Dutch Spyker, has claimed that his banks have financed the first downpayment to GM, according to a report by news agency Bloomberg.

The claim refers to the first $25 million instalment due to General Motors. According to Antonov, Spyker shareholders, GM and the Swedish government are all aware of the source of the money.

“The first payment has been made available by our banks,” Antonov told Bloomberg by phone.

Spyker’s CEO Victor Muller has on several occasions refused to reveal the identity of the lender. He has stated that it is his own firm Tenaci which has backed the instalment by loaning the money.

Vladimir Antonov is Spyker’s largest shareholder with almost 30 percent of the shares and his banking arm Convers Group has provided major loans to the debt-ridden sports-car maker.

Muller has agreed to acquire Antonov’s shareholding and settle outstanding debts to the Russian’s banks through his company Tenaci. GM is reported to have made this demand as a condition of the sale of Saab to Spyker.

Vladimir Antonov told Bloomberg that he could not understand GM’s thinking. He has launched a self-appointed investigation to clear himself of any suspicion over links to the criminal underworld.

Spyker is due to pay a total of $74 million for Saab with the final instalment due by July 15th.

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