O2 UK faced scrutiny from the nation’s Serious Fraud Office, which reportedly commenced a probe into allegations of bribery apparently related to the operator’s relationships with retail customers.

Newspaper The Sunday Telegraph claimed the investigation was related to O2’s business supplying handsets, and dates to before the operator was merged with Liberty Global’s Virgin Media business.

Limited details about the probe have been made public, although in its latest financial statement under its new guise of Virgin Media O2, the operator flagged it was co-operating with an ongoing investigation.

In its statement, it noted the company had been “addressing a request for disclosure made by governmental authorities which is related to possible violations of anti-bribery laws and regulations”.

“O2 continues to co-operate with the governmental authorities investigating this matter which is still ongoing,” it added.

At the time, Virgin Media O2 noted financial provision had been made for a “reasonable estimate of the outcome” by the Telefonica unit in 2019, but did not disclose the sum.