Telenor appointed the law firm arm of Deloitte to review the Norwegian firm’s handling and oversight of its 33 per cent stake in Netherlands-based VimpelCom.
The announcement follows the resignation last week of Svein Aaser, Telenor’s chairman, after the Norwegian government expressed a lack of confidence in him.
VimpelCom is one of three operators in Uzbekistan which are the subject of an investigation by US and Dutch authorities concerning allegations they paid bribes to obtain spectrum and other benefits.
The announcement comes as Reuters reported that former VimpelCom CEO Jo Lunder was held by Norwegian police.
“The review will focus on Telenor’s handling of its ownership in VimpelCom which covers the Telenor nominees on the VimpelCom Supervisory Board and Telenor’s follow-up as a shareholder. In addition the review will cover actions and decisions by Telenor nominees and Telenor employees in relation to VimpelCom’s investment in Uzbekistan,” said the Norwegian company’s announcement.
The review, which will be made public, will identify learning points for future governance and organisation of Telenor investments. This would cover both formal governance structure and practical handling of its investment, it said. The review will run from 2005 until the present.
The review will look at actions and decisions by Telenor-nominated board members on the VimpelCom supervisory board in relation to Uzbekistan. It will also look at Telenor’s governance structure in relation to VimpelCom, and the handling of its interest in the firm.
In addition, the review will study Telenor’s follow-up as a shareholder towards VimpelCom in relation to its investment in Uzbekistan. It will also scrutinise how Telenor’s management and board handled the investment in VimpelCom.
Finally, it will cover the supply of information to Telenor’s majority shareholder (the Norwegian government) and the Parliamentary Committee for Scrutiny and and Constitutional Affairs on VimpelCom’s investment in Uzbekistan.