Baksaas ends consultancy agreement with Telenor

Baksaas ends consultancy agreement with Telenor

09 NOV 2015

Jon Fredrik Baksaas and the Telenor Group agreed to terminate his consultancy arrangement with the Norwegian company, citing the ongoing investigation of VimpelCom, in which Telenor holds a 33 per cent stake.

Baksaas (pictured), who stepped down as CEO of Telenor in August after 13 years, described recent developments in the VimpelCom investigation as “challenging”.

“I have dedicated my career to Telenor and find the situation very unfortunate, complex and sad for the company. It is vital that Telenor’s management and Board of Directors now have room to handle the situation effectively,” he said.

Since August, Baksaas has served as a strategic consultant to Telenor’s board, reporting to the chairman. He keeps shares previously awarded under Telenor’s long term incentive scheme.

Baksaas is also chairman of the GSMA (until December 2016). In a statement, the organisation said: “The GSMA is aware of this morning’s announcement from Telenor and will be discussing this with our Board. We will provide an update in due course.”

Bribes
VimpelCom is one of three operators in Uzbekistan which are the subject of an investigation by US and Dutch authorities over allegations they paid bribes to obtain spectrum and other benefits.

“Although it is VimpelCom that is under investigation, and Telenor is cooperating with the investigating authorities as a witness, questions have been raised about what information the Telenor Group had about the alleged corruption in VimpelCom,” said Frank Dangeard, Telenor Group’s interim chairman of the board.

Previous Telenor chairman, Svein Aaser, resigned last month after the Norwegian government expressed a lack of confidence in him. Monica Maeland, the country’s minister of trade and industry, complained of not receiving relevant information earlier.

Telenor last week appointed Deloitte law firm to investigate its conduct during the VimpelCom inquiry.

Also last week, former VimpelCom CEO Jo Lunder was arrested by Norwegian police. A court ruled on Friday there was no strong evidence linking him to the corruption case.

“The court has, under doubt, concluded that there is no probable cause to suspect Lunder of corruption or contribution to corruption,” the Oslo District Court said in its ruling. The statement was reported by Reuters.

However, the court said the police could continue to hold Lunder until a higher court ruled on an appeal by prosecutors against seeing him released.

Author

Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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