VimpelCom pays $835 million settlement in Uzbekistan corruption

19 February 2016 |

VimpelCom has agreed to pay $835 million in settlement fees to US and Dutch authorities after admitting it paid huge bribes to enter the Uzbekistan telecoms market.

The operator was accused of paying over $114 million in bribes to government officials in the country. In addition to using it to obtain mobile licences for 3G and LTE, the bribes was made to gain entry to the market in 2006.

“VimpelCom made massive revenues in Uzbekistan by paying over $100 million to an official with significant influence over top leaders of the Uzbek government,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the US Securities and Exchange Commision’s enforcement division.

The settlement fees includes $397.5 million to the public prosecution service of the Netherlands, $230.1 million for the US Department of Justice and $167.5 million for the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Jean-Yves Charlier, CEO of VimpelCom, said: "The wrongdoing, which we deeply regret, is unacceptable. We have taken, and will continue to take, strong measures to embed a culture of integrity across the group." Charlier took the helm of the company last March, in the middle of the probe.