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Sweden Prosecutors Arrest Former Saab Auto CEO on Tax Charge

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Three former Saab Automobile executives, including former Chief Executive Officer Jan-Aake Jonsson and Chief Financial Officer Karl-Gustav Lindstroem, were arrested by Swedish prosecutors in an accounting-fraud probe.

Three people were questioned yesterday on suspicion of “grave attempts to complicate tax controls” during 2010 and 2011, Olof Sahlgren, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority’s chief prosecutor, said by phone today, declining to give the names of the arrested. Court documents filed in Vaenersborg indicate Jonsson, Lindstroem and Saab’s former general counsel Kristina Geers were detained.

The suspects were released today after questioning and are still under suspicion, Sweden’s TT newswire reported.

The probe focuses on incidents before Saab filed for bankruptcy in December 2011, almost two years after it was purchased by Dutch supercar-maker Spyker NV. Spyker, which bought Saab from General Motors Co., was forced to halt production due to a lack of cash before the insolvency.

“It’s about accounting measures to complicate the control operation of the tax authority regarding the calculation of taxes and fees,” Sahlgren said.

Bengt-Erik Sik, Geers’s lawyer, denied the accusations and said in a telephone interview “we are all very shocked how this is being handled.”

Helena Wising, Jonsson’s lawyer, said earlier she was on her way to meet her client when reached on her mobile phone and declined to comment further. Lindstroem’s lawyer, Bo Ahlenius, was not immediately available to comment.

Accounting fraud carries a minimum prison sentence of six months and a maximum sentence of four years, Sahlgren said.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB bought Saab out of bankruptcy in August.

To contact the reporters on this story: Niklas Magnusson in Stockholm at nmagnusson1@bloomberg.net; Katarina Gustafsson in Stockholm at kgustafsson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

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