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Photo: Stefan Kalm/Saab Ab

Ex-Saab bosses charged with tax crimes

Prosecutor: "the big question is who paid that money"
4:18 min

Two former CEOs and three board members of car company Saab Automobile have been charged with serious tax crimes by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority.

Swedish Radio's local channel "Väst" has now named former CEOs Jan-Åke Jonsson and Victor Muller, a Dutchman who was also the owner and president, among those accused of a crime called "obstruction of tax control" for issuing false invoices to a Cypriot company totalling more than SEK 30 million. Former General Counsel Kristina Geers was also named.

The crimes stem from the troubled car company's declaration of bankruptcy in 2011. 

"All five have been prosecuted for mutually having permitted booking two payments totaling of SEK 30,862,999. This has been done by falsifying two invoices and issuing them to a Cypriot company," Chief Prosecutor Olof Sahlgren said in a press release.

The five men risk heavy fines and a maximum of four years in jail, but all deny the charges.

The company went bankrupt in 2011 and the economic crime authority has been investigating both previous auditors and and other managers for years.

After it was put up for sale by the US automaker General Motors Co. in 2010, the Dutch sports car company Spyker purchased Saab though was unsuccessful in turning around the iconic Swedish brand. What was left of Saab was bought up by Chinese-Swedish electric car manufacture Nevs.

In a text message to Swedish Radio's local channel, Muller wrote that he had not yet read the indictment.

"This is all new to me. I have not been informed, as usual," he wrote.

Kristina Geers's lawyer Per E. Samuelsson told newswire TT that he is confident that his client will be cleared of all suspicions.

"I see no crimes. There are only natural commercial explanations," he said.

Friday's charges add to a list of accusations against individuals from Saab's management. Last fall Geers was indicted for gross forgery and so-called "false certification." Jonsson was also indicted for "false certification." Both have denied those charges.

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