UPDATE 1-TeliaSonera replaces head of troubled Eurasian division

Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:52am EST

* (Adds comments from industry source)

By Olof Swahnberg

STOCKHOLM Dec 16 (Reuters) - TeliaSonera has replaced the head of its Eurasian division, it said on Monday, following an investigation into business dealings in the region, which accounts for most of the Swedish firm's growth.

Swedish prosecutors began a probe last year, following allegations of bribery, of TeliaSonera's investments in Uzbekistan, including the purchase of a 3G mobile network licence, which resulted in the departure of the group's former chief executive and most of the board.

The company then dismissed four senior employees last month, including its chief financial officer, after a wider company-commissioned investigation by law firm Norton Rose Fulbright found that some transactions in Eurasia - which include operations in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Moldova and Nepal - had not been conducted "in line with sound business practices".

TeliaSonera said on Monday Erik Hallberg, head of its International Carrier business has replaced Veysel Aral as head of Eurasia. Aral took the helm in February from Tero Kivisaari, who led the unit when the investment in Uzbekistan was made.

An industry source said that Kivisaari was one of the four executives who left the company last month.

Before Aral took over from Kivisaari he headed Kazakh mobile firm K-Cell , in which TeliaSonera owns a 62 percent stake and which accounts for the bulk of its business in Eurasia.

A TeliaSonera spokesperson declined to comment except to say Uzbekistan was not covered by the law firm's review as it was already the subject of a criminal investigation.

TeliaSonera expects the law firm to complete its review in the first quarter of 2014. (Reporting by Olof Swahnberg; Editing by Greg Mahlich)