Mon, Oct 01, 2012 - Page 15 News List

General Motors calls for US district court to reject US$3bn damages claim

AFP, NEW YORK

General Motors Co (GM) is urging US authorities to reject a lawsuit by Dutch carmaker Spyker, which is seeking US$3 billion in damages claiming the US automaker deliberately caused Saab to go bankrupt.

The lawsuit, filed in early August, charges GM criminally interfered in an operation that could have made it possible for Saab to restructure and stay afloat, because the US automaker wanted to dominate the Chinese market.

Saab, a former GM subsidiary, filed for bankruptcy in December last year after teetering on the edge of the abyss for almost two years. A last-ditch bid to raise funds in China, with the group Youngman, was nixed by GM over technology transfer issues.

In a document filed on Friday in US District Court in Michigan, GM denied any criminal action or intent.

“Saab had granted GM a contractual right to consent or to withhold its consent to the transaction plaintiffs proposed,” it said.

“In fact, all GM is alleged to have done is publicly express its lack of support for plaintiffs’ last-ditch proposal. That conduct cannot constitute improper interference as a matter of law,” it said.

GM sold Saab in 2010 to Spyker. A deal reached parallel to the sale allowed Saab to keep using GM technologies to keep production going, but allowed GM to stop the arrangement if Saab changed hands.

“Spyker bought Saab knowing this financial history, and subject to terms spelled out unambiguously in the agreements attached to the complaint,” the GM filing said.

“Those agreements included clear contractual limitations on the future use of GM’s technology, and on the transfer of that technology to others,” the filing said.

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