General Motors Co. said today it has given its tentative approval for Russian financier Vladimir Antonov to become a major shareholder in Spyker Cars' struggling Saab unit.
Earlier today, Antonov also was given the green light to invest in Saab by the Swedish Debt Office. Antonov has applied to buy as much as 30 million euros ($44.4 million) for a stake in Saab of up to 29.9 percent.
GM sold Saab to Spyker in February 2010, but it still has redeemable preference shares in the brand and licenses technology to Saab.
GM said it has reached an agreement with Saab "on a construct which could allow for Vladimir Antonov's acquisition of a shareholder interest in Saab."
It added that the agreement "requires certain specific actions to be taken by Saab which have not yet been completed, as well as certain formal consents, approvals and waivers which Saab has not yet obtained."
Antonov said: "Finally we have managed to obtain a clean bill of health and we need to move fast forward to secure the cash flow of Saab Automobile. I hope all involved parties now further take on their responsibility so we can close all processes fast to secure the future of Saab."
It remains unclear, however, how quickly Antonov's money will be available. His plans still have to be approved by the Swedish government and by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has lent 217 million euros to Saab, guaranteed by the Swedish state.
A former shareholder in Spyker, Antonov had to sell his shares in the Dutch group before it bought Saab from GM after reports in Swedish media of involvement with organized crime and money laundering. He has denied such allegations and has said he has cleared his name.