The U.S. Government participated in stopping General Motors from selling Saab to a Dutch automaker in December due to possible involvement in the deal by the Russian Mafia, a Swedish media outlet is reporting.
According to the Dagens Industri newspaper, the Swedish government asked its security force, the Sapo, to investigate the financial affairs of the Convers Group, a Russian investment group owned by the family of billionaire Alexander Antonov that was one of the major shareholders of Spyker when the Dutch automaker made the offer to buy Saab in December. That investigation reportedly turned up a "strong suspicion" of ties between the Antonovs and organized crime, information that was passed on to the FBI. The report goes on to say the the board of General Motors was then contacted by the U.S. Government and told to stop the sale.
Since then, Spyker founder Victor Muller has assumed ownership of the 4.6 million shares in Spyker that were controlled by the Convers Group, through a recently created holding group called Tenaci, which is run by Muller. This move apparently opened the door to another offer to purchase Saab, which was accepted by GM last week.
A spokesman for Spyker tells Foxnews.com that Victor Muller says the report is "nonsense and speculation."
In the weeks leading up to the sale several media outlets reported that GM was wary of the Antonovs' involvement over concerns that intellectual property rights could be transferred to competing automakers. When asked during a conference call following the agreement if GM was satisfied with the exclusion of the Antonov family from the deal, GM Vice President for Corporate Planning and Alliances John Smith responded, "as part of finding a sustainable solution for Saab, we are happy with the structures of the company that Victor Muller has put in place for Saab Spyker and I'll just leave it at that."
When contacted by Foxnews.com about the Dagens Industri story, General Motors issued the following statment:
"We are declining to comment in any way on the specifics of any negotiations, as they were covered by confidentiality agreements. Our interest was in finding a buyer that could create a viable future for Saab, and we believe we did."