TeliaSonera CEO Resigns Amid Scandal

Published: 01 February 2013


After contending with international criticism and corruption investigations for almost a year, TeliaSonera CEO Lars Nyberg resigned Friday following the release of a damning report about the Swedish telecom by the law firm Mannheimer Swartling. 

TeliaSonera hired the Swedish firm in October to review its controversial 2007 investment in Uzbekistan. The report found that TeliaSonera entered the Uzbekistan market before adequately vetting its local partner, which turned out to be a shady off-shore company connected to the country's ruling family.

"Even if this transaction was legal, we should not have gone ahead without learning more about the identity of our counterparty," Nyberg said in his resignation announcement. "This is something I regret."

As a result of that deal, TeliaSonera faces bribery charges in Sweden and a money laundering investigation in Switzerland.

Mannheimer Swartling's report also covered business dealings between TeliaSonera and Zeromax, a Swiss-registered conglomerate that operates in Uzbekistan. The report details a deal wherein TeliaSonera partnered with Zeromax to acquire 4G licenses in Uzbekistan.

Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan's dictator Islam Karimov, is reported to hold ownership in Zeromax. That ownership was revealed in internal TeliaSonera emails and reported by diplomatic sources in 2009, according to the Swedish news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT).