By on May 21, 2013
Kristina Geers and Victor Muller Picture courtesy stureplan.se

During better times:Kristina Geers and Victor Muller

Key members of the board of bankrupt carmaker Saab were arrested yesterday on suspicions of tax evasion.  Former Saab General Counsel Kristina Geers, former CFO Karl-Gustav Lindstrom, and former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson spent the night in jail. After a serious grilling, the three were released today. At the same time, the offices of  Spyker in Zeewolde, Netherlands, were searched by police at the request of Swedish authorities, Z24.NL reports.

According to Saab fanzine Saabsunited,  the trio was booked on suspicions “of trying to seriously make accounting too complicated and difficult for the tax-authorities.” That alone does not justify an  arrest. Later, it was reported that the matter was about paying people as independent consultants instead as employees. This is a popular strategy to minimize tax and social security payments in many countries. It  usually starts a long discussion with the auditors, but no mass arrests, and no internationally coordinated raids. Someone seems to be fishing for more than confusing book entries.

Saab declared bankruptcy in late 2011. Their 2010 and 2011 books were audited, a normal procedure in most European countries after a company goes bust. During the bankruptcy, many suppliers were stiffed, however, the biggest loser was the Swedish government. It had guaranteed a $500 million loan by the European Investment Bank.

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20 Comments on “Tax Saabotage: Three Former Saab Execs Arrested, Victor Muller’s Offices Searched...”


  • avatar
    Summicron

    I would give Kristina asylum.

    “Vaelkommen til Wisconsin, aelsklig.”

  • avatar
    seth1065

    i think we got the gist of your comment.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    From the article:

    the trio was booked on suspicions “of trying to seriously make accounting too complicated and difficult for the tax-authorities.”

    You’ve got to be kidding.

    Tax law around the world is intentionally complicated. Serves them right.
    If the authorities have the power to arrest because they themselves can’t
    figure out their own crappy system and what is owed, then good for Saab.
    Soon, we will be imprisoning more people for supposed “tax evasion” than anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      You beat me to it.

      If I were a dictator, I would:
      1) demolish all tax laws.
      2) have the laws rewritten, but this time the law makers have to memorize the entire law, or they will be fired.
      3) any sub-subsequent changes to the laws follow the same process.

      But that would be too ideal a world to be true.

  • avatar
    love2drive

    The best part about SAAB news are the Swedish Chef videos. So disappointed. Now it’s about taxes and electric cars.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Let’s clear this up right now. There’s no such thing as a “tax authority.” Tax departments wield great Power, to be sure, but they don’t have Authority.

    Authority is the natural right to rule without consent and only God wields it.

    The only human exception is parents, over their minor children, and then only until the kids reach adulthood.

    No government, no judge, no cop, no Federal agency, no military officer, NO ONE, has Authority, even if they have great Power.

    Man is born free and entitled by nature to a state of freedom, and no man is virtuous enough to rule any other without the consent of those he would preside over.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      My dictionary must be faulty because it seems to think Governments have authority.

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/authority?s=t

    • 0 avatar
      Halftruth

      OneAlpha,

      I agree with your post entirely but if that great power can place someone in jail, even for one night on unproven charges, that is a problem. Regardless of their true “authority”.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      The French military are basically doing what we were doing in Afghanistan, they’re in Mali helping push back various jihadist groups. In short, they took back the important cities, airports, etc and now the bad guys have largely retreated to the desert. The French troops are doing a very decent job, not sure how it’s a folley.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    Wait, what? SAAB evaded taxes?
    Don’t you have to make money in order to have some taxes to evade?
    So the real headline here is, “SAAB Made Money!”
    Talk about burying the lede.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Since they’ve been released, is it possible the fishing expedition is over?

    Maybe they’re suspected of looting the gold before the kingdom collapsed?

  • avatar
    piffpaff

    Based on the Swedish media reporting the matter, they were arrested for “complication of tax verification” which is a crime similar to cooking the books. Without actually fabricating the accounting records, this crime consists of recording misleading or non-complete information in the corporate accounting in order to hide transactions or the real reason for transactions.
    In this case it is most probably a question of the invoices from an offshore legal entity controlled by Victor Muller (Latin American Tug Holding in the Dutch Antilles – remember that VM first made his fortune with a Dutch mooring company) whereby Saab paid VM for his work as chairman of the board and de facto executive (Swedish tax authority’s interpretation) or generic advisory and consultant services (VM’s interpretation).
    Typically, the type of activities undertaken and the role performed by VM for Saab would constitute a strong enough nexus for a personal tax liability in Sweden to arise for VM. Linked to that, Saab would then also be liable to withold income tax on the payments made to VM as well as pay the social charges.
    The payments were made without a written contract between Saab and the offshore entity and the invoices contained scarce information about the services rendered. Given that the executives in question were all reporting to VM in their roles in Saab it is probable that this lack of clarity in accounting was intentional. By arresting the executives instead of just questioning them, the likelihood goes up that they will rat out VM so that he can be extradited to Sweden and / or the money confiscated.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I just knew the Saab story wasn’t over. Do Youngman and Pang Da get their money back?

  • avatar
    amca

    Such a shame. Victor Mueller really understood Saab, I think. Remember when he ran a vintage rally car, identical to the one that made Saab a champion in the early 60s.

  • avatar
    binkje

    According to Di’s sources, Saab has postponed their tax payments over several years and the suspicion is that the auditors at Ernst & Young developed a system for this to keep the wounded automaker alive. State’s tax claim amounts to several hundred millions.

  • avatar
    mulled whine

    Meanwhile in hiphop news…. producer Harry Fraud and the rapper Action Bronson, are about to release a collaborative album called “Saab Stories”.

    http://www.complex.com/music/2012/04/action-bronson-and-harry-fraud-to-release-saab-stories-lp-this-summer

  • avatar
    binkje

    Victor Muller now main suspect


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