Olofsson meets Antonov over Saab

Russian financier met Sweden's enterprise minister Maud Olofsson on Tuesday to explain why he wants to invest money in cash-strapped car maker Saab.

Olofsson meets Antonov over Saab
Photo: Scanpix (file)

The meeting took place on Tuesday evening at the enterprise ministry in Stockholm, five days after the government received his letter expressing the wish to meet.

“It was a good meeting. Always good to meet people about which so much has been written,” Maud Olofsson said.

The meeting however had no impact on the government’s decision process regarding European Investment Bank (EIB) loans to the trouble car maker.

“We are waiting on GM and EIB,” Olofsson said.

A couple of days prior to Antonov’s request for a meeting, the Russian financier’s Swedish spokesperson, Lars Carlström, accused the Swedish government of having a “hidden agenda” in favour of Saab being closed down.

This was an issue that Maud Olofsson brought up during the hour-long meeting.

“I maintained that it is better that those in charge make statements and not others. It is important that those who speak know what they are talking about. It is difficult to argue that the government has been passive with regard to the automotive industry,” she said.

Olofsson was keen to stress that the meeting was an information exchange and not intended as a means to develop a position for or against Antonov.

“He wanted to talk about his thoughts about Saab and Saab’s future and why he is eager to step in and invest money,” Olofsson said.

“He is a businessman. Entrepreneurial. He was pleasant,” Olofsson added.

Olofsson is due to meet with representative from Saab’s Chinese partner Pang Da on Thursday.

“As they will remain in Stockholm during the afternoon it will be easier to find time for meeting than if it would have required a trip to Trollhättan,” said Håkan Lind at the Ministry of Enterprise to news agency TT.

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Trollhättan remembers school attack victims

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Three people were killed in an attack that shocked Sweden as a masked, sword-wielding assailant entered the school, stabbing students and teachers who appeared to be of foreign origin. Several people were also injured. The attacker, 21-year-old Anton Lundin Pettersson, was then shot dead by police.

“It was an attack on all of Sweden,” Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said as the procession ended outside the school.

In the week running up to the one-year anniversary, students of the school had made thousands of postcards in memory of the teacher, pupil and teacher aide who were killed in the assault.

A police investigation has showed that Lundin had planned the attack, which lasted around 10 minutes, after being inspired by racist websites.

A teenage student told The Local at the time that many people at the school at first thought it was some kind of a prank.

“I was in a classroom with my class when one of my classmates’ sisters called her to warn her that there was a murderer at the school. So we locked the door to the classroom, but our teacher was still outside in the corridor.”

“We wanted to warn him, so a few of us went outside and then I saw the murderer, he was wearing a mask and had a sword. Our teacher got stabbed.”

“The murderer started chasing me, I ran into another classroom. If I had not run, I would have been murdered. I’m feeling really scared. Everyone’s scared here.”

Trollhättan is an industrial town with around 50,000 residents.