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UPDATE 1-Swedish region asks debt collector to pursue Saab

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UPDATE 1-Swedish region asks debt collector to pursue Saab

Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:54am EDT

* Swedish local authority seeking return of $15.9 mln

* Spyker CEO says claim is 'nothing of concern'

(Adds Spyker reaction)

STOCKHOLM/AMSTERDAM, Sept 22 (Reuters) - A local authority in western Sweden is enlisting the help of the government's debt collector to recover $15.9 million it spent supporting local carmaker Saab, now owned by Dutch group Spyker (SPYKR.AS).

"That is correct," said Annika Braide, spokeswoman for the County Administrative Board of the Vastra Gotaland region. The regional authority said on Sept. 6 it would pursue the claim with the debt collector if Saab did not pay up by Sept. 20. [iD:nLDE68515D]

The government of Vastra Gotaland, home to Saab's main production plant, covered wages when Saab Automobile was under administration before its sale to Spyker.

Saab was not immediately available for comment, but Spyker's chief executive said he was not worried.

"Just a legal dispute that will (be) dealt with in the appropriate way. Nothing of concern," Victor Muller told Reuters in a text message.

Saab and Spyker have previously said the company should only be required to pay part of the amount demanded, saying the debt to the government should be treated like all of its other debts, which were written down under the administration process. ($1=6.954 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Niklas Pollard in Stockholm and Ben Berkowitz in Amsterdam; Editing by Greg Mahlich)



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