Uzbekistan: Telecommunications Company Investigated for Corruption

Published: 20 March 2014


Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera is being investigated for corruption related to its 2007 US $360.5 million purchase of a 3G license in Uzbekistan, reports Reuters.

Requests for documents from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have, according to the Financial Times, created a “significant escalation of probes” into the company.

In 2012, TeliaSonera was investigated for paying an intermediary company US$300 million in bribes for 3G phone rights in Uzbekistan.

The company was owned by close associates of Gulnara “Googosha” Karimova, the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. Karimova, a 41-year-old businesswoman and pop star, lost her position as the Uzbek ambassador to the United Nations in 2013.

Earlier this month Swiss authorities began investigating Karimova for money laundering related to Uzbekistan's telecommunications market.

Authorities have frozen more than US $910 million linked to the Karimova investigation.

TeliaSonera, which already hired new senior management after the 2012 corruption probe, has said it will hand over the requested documents concerning the company’s  Uzbek investments.

In Monday's press release, head of Group Communications at TeliaSonera Peter Borsos said, “TeliaSonera cooperates fully with all the authorities, as we are doing with the Swedish prosecutor, in order to gain full clarity on these issues.”