TeliaSonera boss quits despite no evidence of Uzbek wrongdoing

TeliaSonera boss quits after bribery report

01 FEB 2013

TeliaSonera CEO Lars Nyberg has resigned after an external review of the Nordic operator group’s investments in Uzbekistan criticised how it obtained a mobile licence in 2007.

Nyberg quit after the board refused to give him support in the wake of the report by Swedish law firm Mannheimer Swartling. Per-Arne Blomquist has been appointed as president and acting CEO.

The Swedish law firm was appointed by the Nordic operator group’s board in October last year to investigate allegations of corruption and money laundering connected to its Uzbekistan operations.

The investigation “has not found any substance to the allegations that TeliaSonera committed bribery or participated in money laundering in connection with its investments in Uzbekistan”, a statement from the TeliaSonera board said.

However, TeliaSonera did receive “serious criticism” from Mannheimer Swartling for shortcomings in the investment process and for not making sufficient effort to investigate the local partner or how it “could hold the rights that were later transferred”.

In addition, internal controls weren’t sufficient to ensure TeliaSonera did not risk becoming involved in any unethical business.

In light of the criticism, the board concluded that the investments “were not carried out in a satisfactory manner”. It added that the company has developed new processes and “stringent risk assessment procedures” for future investments.

The investigation initially examined TeliaSonera’s investment in a 3G licence, frequencies and number blocks in Uzbekistan in 2007. It was later expanded to include more recent investments in connection with Uzbekistan.

TeliaSonera’s conduct in Uzbekistan is still being investigated by the Swedish Prosecuting Authorities. Mannheimer Swartling made “the natural observation that the suspicions of crime expressed by the Swedish Prosecution Authority cannot be dismissed by this investigation”.

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Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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