UPDATE 1-Teliasonera's Dutch companies raided in corruption probe

Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:46pm EDT

STOCKHOLM, March 12 (Reuters) - Swedish telecom operator TeliaSonera said on Wednesday that its Dutch holding companies that control its operations in Uzbekistan had been raided by authorities in a preliminary investigation into bribery and money laundering.

The raid came amid intensifying international srutiny of the telecommunications market in Uzbekistan, with Russian operator Vimpelcom saying on Wednesday it was being investigated by U.S. and Dutch authorities.

Also on Wednesday, Switzerland's public prosecutor said it had widened a money laundering probe to include Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan's president, in an investigation originally centred on four people with business and personal ties to her.

The Swiss authorities said that they began investigating possible money laundering in connection with funds held in Switzerland linked to what they called alleged irregularities in Uzbekistan's telecommunications market.

Swedish prosecutors in 2012 started a preliminary investigation into Telia's purchase of a 3G telecoms licence in Uzbekistan in 2007 after bribery allegations, which is still ongoing.

Last year, most of the Teliasonera board, its chief executive and several senior employees left the firm as a consequence of the allegations.

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