Telia's own probe criticises Uzbek 3G deal

STOCKHOLM Fri Feb 1, 2013 4:16am EST

STOCKHOLM Feb 1 (Reuters) - A probe by a top lawyer appointed by TeliaSonera to look into the telecom firm's purchase of a 3G license in Uzbekistan found no evidence of corruption, but harshly criticised lapses in carrying out necessary checks.

In September, Swedish prosecutors launched an investigation into allegations the Nordic telecoms group knew the company to which it paid 2.3 billion Swedish crowns ($361 million) for its licence was a front.

TeliaSonera also appointed law firm Mannheimer Swartling to conduct a probe into the affair.

The report, by lawyer Biorn Riese, established no "bribery or crime against money-laundering laws".

But Riese said in a statement: "If one does deals in a corrupt country one simply has to be more careful than TeliaSonera was." Telia CEO Lars Nyberg has staked his job on the company being exonerated. ($1 = 6.3631 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Simon Johnson)

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