Telenor asks Deloitte to probe VimpelCom

05 November 2015 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Telenor’s board of directors has assigned the commercial law firm Deloitte Advokatfirma to review the company’s handling and oversight of the minority ownership in VimpelCom.

The review will focus on Telenor’s handling of its ownership in VimpelCom which covers the Telenor nominees on the VimpelCom supervisory board and Telenor’s follow-up as a shareholder.

In addition the review will cover actions and decisions by Telenor nominees and Telenor employees in relation to VimpelCom’s investment in Uzbekistan.

The move follows this week’s announcement by VimpelCom that it is setting aside the equivalent of $900 million because of the potential impact of alleged corruption investigations concerning the group’s business in Uzbekistan. 

Telenor, which owns 33% of VimpelCom, greeted that announcement with concern, saying that it was "a serious development that significantly increases our concerns in relation to the potential outcome of the still ongoing investigations".

Telenor says that the review will assess facts and identify learning points for future governance and organisation of Telenor’s ownerships. This would cover both the formal governance structure and the practical handling of the ownerships. The review will cover the period from 2005 until now.

The company, in which the Norwegian state owns 53.97%, has already announced that it plans to sell its stake in VimpelCom. However this move is likely to be delayed until the outcome of all the investigations.

Telenor said that the conclusions and recommendations of the review will be made public.

Heading the investigation will be Deloitte Advokatfirma’s head of forensic services, Arnt Angell, who was a chief public prosecutor and head of the anti-corruption department in Økokrim, the Norwegian national authority for investigation and prosecution of economic and environmental crime.