Swedish Prosecutors Arrest Former Saab Auto CEO on Tax Charges
By Niklas Magnusson & Katarina Gustafsson - May 21, 2013 6:30 AM ET
Three former Saab Automobile executives, including former Chief Executive Officer Jan-Aake Jonsson and Chief Financial Officer Karl-Gustav Lindstroem, were arrested by Swedish prosecutors in an accounting-fraud probe.
Three people were questioned yesterday on suspicion of “grave attempts to complicate tax controls” during 2010 and 2011, Olof Sahlgren, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority’s chief prosecutor, said by phone today, declining to give the names of the arrested. Court documents filed in Vaenersborg indicate Jonsson, Lindstroem and Saab’s former general counsel Kristina Geers were the people detained.
The probe focuses on incidents before Saab filed for bankruptcy in December 2011, almost two years after it was purchased by Dutch supercar-maker Spyker NV. (SPYKR) Spyker, which bought Saab from General Motors Co. (GM), was forced to halt production due to a lack of cash before the insolvency.
“We will evaluate the questioning from yesterday and after that the people will be subject to further questioning and this afternoon I will decide whether to keep them in custody or release them,” Sahlgren said. “It’s about accounting measures to complicate the control operation of the tax authority regarding the calculation of taxes and fees.”
Bengt-Erik Sik, Geers’s lawyer, denied the accusations and said “we are all very shocked how this is being handled.” Sik expects Geers to be released today, he said in a telephone interview.
Helena Wising, Jonsson’s lawyer, said she was on her way to meet her client when reached on her mobile phone and declined to comment further. Lindstroem’s lawyer, Bo Ahlenius, was not immediately available to comment.
Accounting fraud carries a minimum prison sentence of six months and a maximum sentence of four years, Sahlgren said.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB bought Saab out of bankruptcy in August.
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