Vladimir Antonov will soon give up the position of chairman at Spyker because he stood between the Dutch company and its successful acquisition of Saab. Recent reports indicate that a Swedish government investigation tied Antonov and his family to the Russian mafia and money laundering. Those findings helped kill the initial deal between Spyker and General Motors and led to Antonov's subsequent departure.

Antonov has a different take on the story. In a New York Times op-ed called "A Misplaced Fear of Russian Money," he writes that the results of the Swedish investigation were "surreal allegations," and that he'll prove them untrue. He's hired a firm of private investigators to clear his name, and he plans to give his report to all parties involved, including the press, to show that he's just another businessman.

His goal is to get back in on the Spyker-Saab deal; apparently, Antonov sees enough potential there to go through these public motions. Although he's no longer a shareholder, he does remain a lender to Spyker, having tendered the company $100 million to help it buy Saab. That makes it simpler for Antonov to return to the Spyker party, say, if Spyker converts debt to shares, but first he'll have to get past the bouncers in Sweden and the U.S. government.

[Source: Auto News – sub req'd, Saabs United]

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