Finance

Friend of Putin breathes new life into racing car brand Spyker

The intention is that three different Spyker models will be produced next year, the parties announced on New Year’s Eve. To this end, a new production company is set up, which Muller will be in charge of. According to Muller, the agreement is ‘the starting point’ to rebuild Spyker.

The new Spykers will be developed and built partly in Russia and partly in Germany, while the financial branch will operate from Luxembourg. Final assembly will take place in the Netherlands. According to Spyker, the latter is also to pay tribute to the roots of the Dutch racing car brand.

Half a million cars

Spyker was founded in 1880 by the Hilversum coachbuilders Hendrik-Jan and Jacobus Spijker, who designed, among other things, the Gouden Koets. At the beginning of the twentieth century cars and airplanes were added, but in 1926 Spyker was closed.

Muller re-registered the name in 1999. Since then, he tried to gain a foothold as a manufacturer of exclusive sports cars. A new Spyker quickly cost three tons, rising to more than half a million euros, but more than a handful a year were not made.

At the beginning of this year, the Dutch Spyker was declared bankrupt. Before that time, Muller had already housed the remnants of the car manufacturer in Spyker Ltd. Rotenburg and Pessis have now concluded an agreement with that British company.

In addition to the production locations, new service centers must also be established. These are being built on the French Cote d’Azur, with Monaco and Cannes an attractive market for luxury cars, but also at a location close to the borders of Luxembourg, Belgium and France.

It is known that Muller has great confidence in Rotenberg, whom he has known for years. The Russian businessman is said to be one of the biggest fans and collectors of Spyker cars in the world. In addition, with his team SMP Racing, of which Pessis is co-owner, he is well known in the racing world.

Good for 1.1 billion

Boris Rotenberg, 64, and his six-year-older brother Arkadi, have been good friends with Putin since childhood. The three got to know each other on the judo mat, but remained closely linked for the rest of their lives. When Putin founded a state vodka distillery in 2000, Arkadi took charge.

The company soon grew into a money machine, the profits of which were funneled into their SMP Bank. With that money, the brothers built a business empire in the oil and gas sector, with clients like Gazprom. According to Forbes, Boris is good for 1.1 billion euros, his brother Arkadi for more than double.

After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on some of Putin’s closest friends. Among them are the Russian brothers, of whom Boris only passed through the US. By punishing Putin’s friends, the West hoped to force behavior change. The sanctions will in any case apply until March next year.

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