Five people in the former management of bankrupt Swedish auto maker Saab Automobile AB are being prosecuted for a bookkeeping offense, Sweden’s Economic Crimes Bureau said Friday.
” All five have been prosecuted for mutually having permitted booking two payments totaling of SEK 30,862,999 (3.5 million euros). This has been done by falsifying two invoices and issuing them to a Cypriot company”, says Chief Prosecutor Mr. Olof Sahlgren.
As board directors, the three individuals had the overall responsibility for making sure that all business transactions in the company were recorded in accordance with the Accounting Act.
The former acting chief financial officer and the former general legal counsel, who both served during the period in question, have according to the prosecution also participated in the criminal offense.
The alleged crimes, labelled gross obstruction of tax control, took place in 2011 when Saab was struggling for its survival. Sahlgren, who is with the Swedish Economic Crime Authority, charged three former board members, the former acting chief financial officer and the former general legal counsel.
All five – including former board chairman Victor Muller, head of the Dutch boutique sports carmaker Spyker – have denied the charges. Those charged were former Chairman Victor Muller; former Chief Executive Jan Åke Jonsson, head lawyer Kristina Geers, and executives Robert Schuyt and Rosmarie Soderbom.
If convicted, they risk up to four years in prison.
The funds were aimed at covering payments to former Saab owner, US group General Motors (GM), the prosecutor said. Spyker in February 2010 took over Saab from GM. Saab Automobile went bankrupt at the end of 2011.
Prosecutors have since been investigating former auditors and other managers. Chinese-backed consortium National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) took over the carmaker in 2012. No trial date has been set.
Case number at Vänersborg district court: B 1859-13.
Facts – Obstruction of tax control
A crime which has created a risk that the control activity of an authority when calculating taxes or fees is seriously obstructed.
To neglect the obligation to maintain or keep accounts could be an obstruction of tax control, as stipulated in 10 § The Swedish Tax Offenses Act.
The penalty is a fine or inprisonment for not more than two years, or if the crime is gross, to inprisonment for not less than six months and not more than four years.