TeliaSonera Facing US Criminal Investigation Over Uzbek Subsidiary
Published on: 17th Mar 2014
By: Ian Mansfield
Sweden's TeliaSonera has confirmed that has been informed that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has an ongoing investigation regarding its transactions in Uzbekistan.
The DOJ has sent a request for documents to TeliaSonera. In addition, TeliaSonera has received a request from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to submit documents and information related to Uzbekistan.
Within the previously announced investigation in the Netherlands, Dutch authorities have requested collateral for any financial claims which may be decided against the company, which could reach an estimated EUR20 million.
"The common denominator for our contacts with the authorities is that we are asked for information about TeliaSonera's investments in Uzbekistan and documents related to these. TeliaSonera cooperates fully with all the authorities, as we are doing with the Swedish prosecutor, in order to gain full clarity on these issues," said Peter Borsos, Head of Group Communications at TeliaSonera.
Last year TeliaSonera's Board assigned the international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to conduct a thorough review of recent transactions regarding contracts and partners in other parts of TeliaSonera's Eurasian operations. Also, the law firm Mannheimer Swartling conducted an investigation specifically regarding the investments in Uzbekistan, which was presented last year.
Last year, TeliaSonera's CEO resigned after an independent review found the company had failed to carry out proper background checks and conduct due diligence on its Uzbek partner, Takilant. That company is believed to have links with Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan's president.
Allegations of bribery and money-laundering at TeliaSonera emerged in 2012.