Bribery: Telecom firm to pay fine of $1bn

Swedish telecom firm Telia will pay fines of nearly $ 1 billion to settle a bribery case brought by US , Swedish and Dutch authorities , the US Justice Department announced Thursday.
Stockholm - based Telia Company AB, whose securities traded in New York , “ corruptly built a lucrative telecommunications business in Uzbekistan , using bribe payments wired around the world through accounts here in New York City , ” Acting US Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement .
Telia and its Uzbek subsidiary , Coscom LLC, “ have admitted to paying , over many years , more than $ 331 million in bribes to an Uzbek government official . ”
As part of the multinational case , US authorities charged the companies with violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in what Kim called “ one of the largest criminal corporate bribery and corruption resolutions ever . ”
In addition to the fines , the company “also agreed to implement rigorous internal controls and cooperate fully with the Department’ s ongoing investigation, including its investigation of individuals ,” the statement said.
The probes were opened in March 2014 into alleged payments made to an Uzbek firm to obtain a mobile operating license as well as a 26 percent stake in the local operator Ucell .
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 .
It was the second resolution by a major international telecommunications provider to settle charges of bribery in Uzbekistan .
In February 2016 , Amsterdam - based VimpelCom Limited and its Uzbek subsidiary , Unitel LLC, also admitted to a conspiracy to make more than $ 114 million in bribery payments to the same Uzbek government official between 2006 and 2012 . That investigation has thus far yielded a combined total of over $ 1 . 76 billion in global fines .
AFP