NOT a lot was known about Vladimir Antonov until he hit the headlines in 2009 when Swedish authorities accused him of having connections to the Russian mafia.
This was strongly denied by Mr Antonov and he was exonerated by the Swedish government last year. The row started when Spyker cars – of which Mr Antonov was chairman – tried to buy Saab, which was owned by General Motors in America.
GM were prepared to sell Saab for a nominal fee but Swedish authorities claimed Mr Antonov had links to organised crime and money laundering. The FBI then prompted GM to pull out of the deal until the Antonov family sold their shares in Spyker, which they did to allow the deal to be completed. After two investigations – one commissioned by Mr Antonov – the allegations against him were dropped.