* Swedish prosecutors probing Uzbek 3G license deal
* TeliaSonera to sharpen guidelines for large investments
* Says has zero tolerance for corruption
STOCKHOLM, Oct 16 Swedish telecoms operator
TeliaSonera said on Tuesday it would stick to its plan
to expand in central Asia despite a legal probe into its
purchase of a 3G licence in Uzbekistan.
TeliaSonera, 37 percent state-owned, has denied allegations
that its payment of around 2.3 billion Swedish crowns ($346.34
million) for the licence in 2007 amounted to bribery and had led
to money laundering.
Swedish prosecutors last month opened a preliminary probe
into the deal after in a Swedish television programme said the
seller, Gibraltar Takilant Ltd, had close ties with the daughter
of Uzbek president Islam Karimov.
A Swedish court on Monday froze around $30 million of funds
in a bank account controlled by Takilant.
"During a meeting today, TeliaSonera's board reconfirmed its
commitment to the company's current strategy," TeliaSonera said
in a statement.
"The board takes full responsibility for existing and future
investments. We will continue to be a leading player in the
Nordic and Baltic markets and will strengthen our operations in
The company said it would tighten its risk management
procedures for large investments to ensure compliance with its
code of ethics and said it had "zero tolerance" for corruption
and human rights abuses.
Criticism of TeliaSonera's activities in central Asia has
embarrassed Sweden, a country which prides itself on
squeaky-clean ethical standards and support for human rights.
The government has said TeliaSonera failed to follow its own
rules when buying the license and that it could seek a seat on
the company's board to have greater influence over
($1 = 6.6408 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)