TeliaSonera Eurasia activities could have been criminal, says company

03 April 2014 | Kavit Majithia


Nordic carrier TeliaSonera has said it may have broken the law in a number of Eurasian markets, after more concerns were raised over its business dealings in Uzbekistan.

Swedish prosecutors launched an inquest into wrongdoing over TeliaSonera’s purchase of a 3G licence in Uzbekistan in 2012, with authorities in the Netherlands and the US also carrying out probes.

TeliaSonera’s chairwoman, Marie Ehrling, said other issues in Eurasian markets had been identified after a review by law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, with the probe focused on Kazakhstan, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Georgia.

“The board can unfortunately say that several transactions and practices have not been handled in accordance with good business practices,” she said. “It cannot be excluded that certain actions have been criminal.”

The company’s new CEO, Johan Dennelind – appointed in June last year – vowed to improve business practices when taking control. According to Reuters, shareholders have voted against discharging former CEO Lars Nyberg from personal liability over the situation, and the firm has the right to sue him personally. 

TeliaSonera acquired two licences in Kazakhstan in 2013 when Nyberg was at the helm, with the former CEO claiming that its acquisitions in Kazakhstan were “clean”.

Nyberg claims the company conducted proper checks regarding who owned the assets and where they were purchased from.

TeliaSonera’s CFO and other senior executives resigned during the Norton Rose Fulbright investigation into the company’s Eurasian dealings in November last year.