Ex-chair Victor Muller to be summoned over Saab tax offenses

Article by Anita Panait, on May 29, 2013

Sweden’s Economic Crime Authority will invite former Saab chairman Victor Muller as part of an investigation into alleged tax-related offenses at the carmaker. Muller, however, is not suspected of wrongdoing. He is now chief executive of Spyker, a sports carmaker that acquired Saab from General Motors in 2010.

In a statement, Spyker said that the Gothenburg district attorney has confirmed that Muller is not a suspect, and he may be invited for interview possibly in October. Swedish prosecutors are probing into claims that Saab executives blocked proper tax checks from 2010 to 2011, when the company was experiencing several struggles that included heavy financial fixes that eventually forced the carmaker to collapse.

Katinka Wall, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Economic Crime Authority, confirmed that the former Saab chairman will be summoned as part of a wider probe and that he is not being served as a suspect.

Local daily Svenska Dagbladet first reported last week that tax authorities are intending to invite Muller for questioning. Last week, Swedish prosecutors questioned Saab former chief executive Jan-Ake Jonsson, former Chief Financial Officer Karl-Gustav Lindstroem and former general counsel Kristina Geers.

Muller and Maarten de Bruijn founded Spyker Cars in 1999. In 2000, the duo acquired the legal rights to use the iconic Spyker brand name. The original Spyker (or Spijker) was a Dutch carriage, automobile and aircraft manufacturer established in 1880 by blacksmith brothers Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker. The company uses a logo with the rotary engine of an airplane, in reference to the original Spyker.

Muller served as Chief Executive Officer of Spyker Cars until May 2007, as was replaced by Michiel Mol. He returned as CEO later the same year, as Spyker Cars and Spyker F1 went on separate ways. Mol was the CEO of Spyker F1.

In 2010, Spyker Cars completed its acquisition of Saab Automobile from General Motors, which continued to the latter’s preferential shareholder. Muller formed and became chairman of Swedish Automobile, which became the parent company Spyker Cars and Saab. It didn’t take long before Saab ran out of money, and Spyker Cars failed to plug the bleeding. Production was halted at Saab and Muller began looking for funding.

While Muller managed to negotiate the sale of Saab to a group of Chinese companies, the deal didn’t push through as GM refused to approve the proposed sale due to possible conflict of interests. Saab filed for bankruptcy in December 2011. Spyker eventually sold Saab to a Chinese-Swedish investment group in June 2012. Spyker Cars has sued General Motors over Saab’s bankruptcy.

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Topics: saab



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