TeliaSonera CEO steps down over Uzbek allegations

TeliaSonera CEO steps down over Uzbek allegations

TeliaSonera president and CEO, Lars Nyberg, has stepped down after the company received the results of a review it commissioned into its Uzbek operations by Swedish law firm Mannheimer Swartling.

The review investigated allegations of corruption in an acquisition the company made to enter the Uzbek market in 2007.

A story, which aired on TV programme Mission: Investigate last year, alleged that Takilant Ltd, the company that TeliaSonera paid $30 million to in 2007 for a 3G licence, frequencies and a 26% stake in mobile operator Ucell, had close ties with the daughter of Uzbek president, Islam Karimov.

Mannheimer Swartling’s review could not confirm or dismiss allegations that TeliaSonera had committed bribery or money laundering in the country.

Nyberg said around the time the story broke that he would resign if it was found the company had done wrong.

TeliaSonera was criticised in the review for its failure to conduct sufficient in depth analysis into the identity of its local partner in Uzebekistan before it invested in the country or into how its partner came to own the assets later obtained by TeliaSonera.

“When the board received the Mannheimer Swartling report, I was informed that there would be significant changes to the composition of the board. In order to continue as chief executive I need a functioning board and their explicit support. I was informed that as a result of the pending changes to the board they were not prepared to express that support,” said Nyberg in a statement.

“At that point I made up my mind that I would leave my position as chief executive and therefore I am resigning.”

Nyberg has been replaced by Per-Arne Blomquist, who will take the position of acting president and CEO.

TeliaSonera is also looking for a new chairman after Anders Narvinger announced he would resign in December 2012.

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