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Saab - A History in Pictures – Click above for high-res image gallery

When Koenigsegg dropped out of the running to purchase Saab from General Motors, there apparently weren't many automakers interested in rescuing the Swedish brand from the abyss. The only company with any serious interest, Spyker, seemed to be a long-shot to bring the brand into its portfolio. Of course, we now know that other investment groups were in the running, but Spyker came out on top to purchase Saab for $75 million and a closet full of clogs. But just like the winding road that led to the sale, the story doesn't simply end there. According to several reports, the deal could have been done a month sooner were it not for the involvement of the Russia's Antonov group.

SR International is among several international news agencies to report that the Swedish government was under the strong suspicion that the Antonov group has strong ties to the Russian mafia. The Antonov family is allegedly tied to organized crime and money laundering, and the English government has blocked the family from investing in the UK because of similar suspicions. The Swedish government then reportedly informed America's FBI of their findings, a move that lead to the U.S. government telling the GM board to stop the sale of Saab to Spyker on December 18. Hans Lindblad, state secretary at the Swedish Ministry of Finance, has reportedly confirmed the situation, adding that the discovery gave the Swedish government more time to help broker a deal.

In the end, Spyker was able to purchase Saab from GM only after the Antonov group was bought out of its interest in Dutch specialty automaker. And we thought the Saab tale couldn't get any weirder... or convoluted.




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  • 19 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds like Saab is going to be in great hands, lol..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not really surprising. Pretty much every business in Russia has to deal with organized crime at some level.

      When I was doing business there in the early 1990's, 'organized' crime wasn't that common early on, although bribery was rampant. It got organized enough in the mid-1990's that we spun off the Russian operations, can't imagine what it must be like now...
        • 5 Years Ago
        You can't really think that corruption is as prevalent now in Russia versus how it was in mid 1990's. Back then Yeltsin completely weakened the whole economy, opened it up to free-markets without it being ready to compete especially in the efficiency aspect, furthermore, he sold off former government assets dirt cheap to private sector. Within it, the only people who had any sort of money to buy those assets even for dirt cheap were gangsters. That point I won't debate. But now 15-20 years later, smart gangsters moved their funds into legit businesses. Of course they still have connections to the mob, but many realized that such connections do not attract investment. Now that oil prices have dropped, Russia desperately needs foreign capital, and they have been working hard to clean up their image. Are they anywhere close to being transparent? Of course not.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Didn't one of em Russian tried to sell a rogue nuclear submarine with warheads to some random person? Their plutonium killing crap doesn't help either....
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're referencing Shell Sakhalin II fiasco and probably several other instances where Russians felt like they wanted to go at it alone, rather than engage into any other additional joint ventures. I just think that Russia really wanted to have solid control over energy sector, meaning votes, capital structure, leveraging, prices, etc etc. Other sectors they are less obnoxious. I feel that changed in automotive industry, at one point they could care less. Then all of a sudden there was the Renault issue, the failure to purchase Opel, the constant bickering with GM over other JV in mid 2000s, now Saab. Why didn't Russians go after Volvo?! I have no clue. Dealing with Ford is a lot easier than dealing with GM, yes they would have paid more, but then they would have avoided such heavy government involvement, media attention, and other undesirable mentions. Anyways I understand that Russians are trying desperately to diversify out of the energy sector into military, aero, and auto. Military and aero has development has been going ok (especially now they are in a better position after US shot itself and Boeing in the foot with the Taiwan arms sales), auto they don't have the money or the time to do the R&D, that's why for them the BEST is to purchase an existing brand.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Those Russians. We probably havn't heard the end of it nyet.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM was handed over to one of the most notorious organized crime groups known in America. The UAW.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What a bunch of BS!

      So, GM could not cell Opel to Magna/Sberbank consortium because of the alleged link of Sberbank to Al-Qaeda?

      • 5 Years Ago
      Hm, so it seems to me that Saab could have become the car of choice for Russian gangsters, had this gone through- a missed opportunity.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What is the difference between organized crime and the government?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The government wishes they were that organised.
      • 5 Years Ago
      An almost "De Lorean" fiasco for Saab..thank goodness it didn't happen.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let me guess; the group/person who bought out the Antonovs' share happened to be a fresh face who just happens to be from the same town the Antonovs have their HQ in, hmm?

      But hey, drama is fun (sometimes)
      • 5 Years Ago
      The question is are there any rich Russians that aren't gangsters?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, you might have heard of him Sergey Brin of Google
      • 5 Years Ago
      Imagine the Russian dons driving around in gangsta Saabs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        figuring most of Russias orginised crime is controlled by Uzbeks, Chechens, and other poeple from the Causus I think you won't be seeing many "Russians" driving them at all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh my, a billionaire 'business man' in Russia with ties to the mob? Really!? Did we really need multiple governments to track this information down? I think the kids in grade school on Wiki-pedia could've saved everyone some time.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In Russia...Saab kicks mafiya buttski.
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