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Saab parent's $3 billion lawsuit vs GM thrown out by U.S. judge

DETROIT - Dutch sports car maker Spyker NV's $3 billion lawsuit accusing General Motors Co of trying to bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab was dismissed by a U.S. federal judge on Monday who said the U.S. automaker had the right to block the sale of a company using its technology.

Spyker sued GM in August 2012, seeking damages and accusing the U.S. automaker of trying to stop a deal with Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co and eliminate a potential rival in the growing Chinese market.

“General Motors had a contractual right to approve or disapprove the proposed transaction,” U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain said in a hearing in Detroit. “The court is going to grant the motion to dismiss the matter.”

Drain said the deal Spyker had reached when it purchased Saab, giving GM the right to stop change of ownership, “is clear, unambiguous and absolute.” He added that GM's statements voicing its opposition to Saab's deal with Youngman were not made with malice or to intentionally harm Saab.

“We are pleased with the court's decision to dismiss the case, which we believe was the appropriate result,” GM spokesman Dave Roman said in an email.

Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller, who attended the hearing, declined to say whether he would appeal the decision. "We will be awaiting the written order and then we will assess," he told Reuters.

Drain said he would file a more detailed explanation of his ruling later.

Last fall, GM rejected claims that it deliberately bankrupted the Swedish company by blocking a deal with Youngman. The U.S. automaker has said the lawsuit was without merit and it had the legal right to approve Saab's transaction.

Saab, one of Sweden's best-known brands, stopped production in May 2011 when it could no longer pay suppliers and employees. It went bust in December 2011, less than two years after GM sold it to Spyker.

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