Swedish prosecutor says to charge former employees at Telia

Lloyd Doyle
September 22, 2017

Telia and Coscom admitted paying approximately $331 million in bribes to a Uzbek official, who was a close relative of a high-ranking government official and had influence over the body that regulated the telecom industry. The payments were disguised as payments for lobbying and consulting services that never actually occurred.

Acting US attorney Joon Kim hailed the settlement as "one of the largest criminal corporate bribery and corruption resolutions ever".

Telia has also noted that Swedish law enforcement is continuing its separate investigation into individuals, and that the company may be subject to disgorgement proceedings resulting from that investigation. The company agreed to pay a total of United States dollars 965 million to put an end to the scandal.

The payments indicate Telia effectively paid "a downright bribe" to ensure it received the license from Uzbek authorities, Chief Prosecutor Gunnar Stetler said.

However, the companies did not receive more significant mitigation credit, either in the penalty or the form of resolution, because the companies did not voluntarily self-disclose their misconduct, the Department stated.

The Stockholm-based Telia is not the only worldwide telecom company that has been ensnared in allegations over bribery in Uzbekistan.

Telia consented to the SEC's order requiring the company to pay $457 million in disgorgement, and the company also agreed to pay a criminal fine of more than $508 million imposed by the Department of Justice.

The firm said on Thursday it had agreed to pay $965 million to settle USA and European criminal and civil charges that the Swedish phone company paid bribes to win business in Uzbekistan.

Telia Company AB (TELIA.SK) said Friday that Swedish authorities will prosecute a number of former employees and bring legal proceedings against the telecom operator following the company's deal to settle bribery allegations. The Stockholm-based company entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement in the USA charging the company with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars the use of bribes to foreign officials to get or keep business.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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