Telia reached a global settlement worth $965 million to resolve a three year investigation into the company’s entry into Uzbekistan in 2007.
In a statement, Telia said it had reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dutch and Swedish authorities after it was found guilty of making bribes of approximately $330 million to break into the Uzbek market.
Telia’s subsidiary in Uzbekistan, Coscom (which operates under the Ucell brand), entered a guilty plea with the DoJ, while both US and Dutch authorities concluded Telia’s conduct was in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Dutch legislation.
In 2016, Telia received a proposal from US and Dutch authorities offering a settlement of $1.4 billion to resolve the case, which the operator described as “very high”.
However, after the company sold off its stake in Tajikistan operator Tcell earlier this year, as part of its strategy to exit the entire Eurasia region amid the Uzbek allegations, it said it expected to pay around $1 billion to settle the case.
The company added it had been discussing the situation with the authorities since September 2016 and found a resolution which is in its best interest.
In the statement, Telia’s president and CEO Johan Dennelind said the settlement brought “an end to an unfortunate chapter in Telia Company’s history”.
“Since 2013, the new board and management have worked diligently and responsibly to understand what went wrong, to remedy what has been broken and to regain trust from all our stakeholders,” he said.
“We have come a long way to establish a more sustainable company with a strong focus on governance and compliance but it is a never ending journey as we aspire to embed this into our culture making sure that all employees understand the importance of doing the right thing all the time.”
Earlier this week, Telia cut its stake in Turkish operator Turkcell, as part of its ongoing divestment strategy.