Thursday, September 21, 2017

Telia agrees to pay US$965 million to settle Uzbek bribery case

Telia Company AB agreed to pay US$965 million in a global settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, and Dutch and Swedish law enforcement.

The case, which dates back to 2007, involved Telia's entrance into the Uzbek telecommunications market. Telia paid at least $330 million in bribes to a shell company under the guise of payments for lobbying and consulting services that never actually occurred. The person receiving the bribes is believed to be a daughter of the President of Uzbekistan.

The SEC said Telia has consented to the order to pay $457 million in disgorgement. Telia has also agreed to pay a criminal fine of more than $508 million imposed by the Department of Justice, although portions of each amount could be offset by payments made in overseas settlements or proceedings brought by the Dutch Openbaar Ministerie or the Swedish Ă…klagarmyndigheten.

Statement from Telia

“Today’s settlement brings an end to an unfortunate chapter in Telia Company’s history. Since 2013 the new board and management have worked diligently and responsibly to understand what went wrong, to remedy what has been broken and to regain trust from all our stakeholders. We have come a long way to establish a more sustainable company with a strong focus on governance and compliance but it is a never-ending journey as we aspire to embed this into our culture making sure that all employees understand the importance of doing the right thing all the time. The resolution and related financial sanction that we announce today is a painful reminder of what happens if we don't”, says Telia Company’s President and CEO Johan Dennelind.

Statement from SEC

Corporate bribery is not just unfair and illegal, it has terribly corrosive effects on business, government, and society,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.  “As this global settlement demonstrates, the SEC continues to work closely with our counterparts at home and abroad to expose and pursue such corruption.”

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