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Russia investor wants in Spyker-Saab deal

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Russia investor wants in Spyker-Saab deal

February 19, 2010 15:31 CET

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian investor Vladimir Antonov, ousted from a deal by Dutch luxury sports car maker Spyker to buy Saab from General Motors Co., said he was still lending to Spyker and wanted to remain a co-owner of the group.

Antonov said on Friday that he ordered a private investigation to clear his name and would send the results to GM to persuade the U.S. giant to include him in a deal which saw a producer of just several dozen handmade sports cars a year buying money-losing Saab.

"In response to all this noise in the media we have retaliated by hiring a large and globally renowned investigation agency which has former FBI and CIA agents among its employees," Antonov said.

"They are doing a report which will be ready in two to three weeks. The agency is investigating whether the business of (myself) and family has any criminal links and will issue assessments backed by documents in response to all accusations against us".

"Then we will send the report to all participants of the transaction and to the press," he said.

Dutch investors group VEB has criticized the secrecy surrounding the financing and structure of deal to buy Saab, in which Spyker CEO Victor Muller bought 29 percent in Spyker from Antonov's Convers Group.

Antonov said he would provide Muller's company Tenaci with loans for around $100 million of which $25 million had been already disbursed. The loans to Tenaci are part of a broader scheme by Spyker to buy Saab.

Antonov said he was still lending because he hoped to remain a shareholder in the Spyker-Saab group.

"Of course I want (to) but it would all depend on GM," he said. "We can quietly come back to the issue when the investigation agency submits the report and if GM removes its concerns."

Antonov said that he could become shareholder again if Muller sold shares, the group did a new share issue or converted debt into shares.

"There are plenty of options," he said adding he was committed to Spyker because of its good business prospects.

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