Vladimir Antonov, Saab owner Victor Muller’s former business partner, has been cleared of the corruption charges that had forced him out of the bidding for the Swedish Automaker.
Swedish newspaper, Dagens Industri, has reported Antonov was cleared after a Swedish government investigation found no evidence of corruption involving the Russian businessman.
Antonov was a key backer of Muller and his Dutch-based sports car company, Spyker, and was planning to play a role in the purchase of Saab, which General Motors was going to sell or close after its 2009 bankruptcy. But after questions arose about the Russian’s possible involvement with crime syndicates, Muller said General Motors forced him to abandon his established partnership with Antonov in order to complete his bid for Saab.
A prerequisite for the deal was that Vladimir Antonov stepped down as Chairman and majority shareholder in Spyker due to allegations of illegal business and money laundering.
Based near Gothenberg, Saab was in the midst of shutting down when Muller – minus Antonov – was able to complete the acquisition, earlier this year.
Specifically, the new report, which was commissioned by the Swedish government and conducted by international risk consultancy company, Kroll, showed that there was no evidence that Vladimir Antonov or any of his companies are or have been involved in organized crime or money laundering.
Muller has made no secret that he wants Antonov back at Spyker Saab, according to the Swedish Newspaper, which obtained a copy of the report.
“That’s what I have been saying. Antonov has been falsely accused, he is an honest man and must have his reputation restored,” Muller told the Swedish newspaper.
Muller said Antonov is passionate about all aspects of the automotive industry from development to production and especially R&D.
Muller also said, in a recent interview, that Russia is one of the key’s to Saab’s future growth.
Antonov is described as a Russian entrepreneur, banker and turnaround specialist. He is Chairman of the international business firm, Convers Group, which includes Bank Snoras, Investbank, Latvijas Krajbanka, Grffon Bank and Banco Trasatlantico among other assets all over the world.