* Telia already under investigation over Uzbek 3G deal
* Previous allegations led CEO, board to quit
(Adds Swedish government, former CEO comment)
STOCKHOLM, April 2 A scandal over TeliaSonera's
business dealings in Uzbekistan widened on Wednesday
after the Swedish telecoms firm said it could not rule out that
some of its actions in other Eurasian markets had broken the
In 2012, Swedish prosecutors launched an investigation into
allegations of corruption related to Telia's purchase of a 3G
licence in Uzbekistan, with U.S. and Dutch authorities also
carrying out their own probes.
Telia chairwoman Marie Ehrling said problems in other
Eurasian markets had also been identified by a review conducted
by law firm Norton Rose Fulbright on Telia's behalf.
"The board can unfortunately say that several transactions
and practices have not been handled in accordance with good
business practice," Ehrling said. "It can not be excluded that
certain actions have been criminal."
The probe focused on Kazakhstan, Nepal, Azerbaijan,
Tajikistan and Georgia.
Telia's CEO and most of the board quit after an earlier
internal investigation found it failed to conduct sufficient
checks when buying a 3G licence in Uzbekistan in 2007.
New CEO Johan Dennelind, appointed in June last year to
improve business practices, fired a further four top executives.
In a rare move, shareholders on Wednesday voted against
discharging former CEO Lars Nyberg from personal liability for
the past financial year, meaning the firm could later sue him
The Swedish state, Telia's biggest shareholder with around
37 percent of the stock, backed the majority view.
"We as owners today lack information to say whether Lars
Nyberg in his role as CEO in January 2013 failed in his duties
and thus can be held liable," state secretary with
responsibility for state-owned companies, Erik Thedeen, told the
Telia completed two acquisitions in Kazakhstan in 2013 while
Nyberg was chief executive.
In a letter to shareholders published on the website of
newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Nyberg said he believed the
company's deals in Kazakhstan were "clean".
He said he believed TeliaSonera had made proper checks
regarding who owned the assets that were purchased and who were
the ultimate recipients of the money that was paid out.
(Reporting by Olof Swahnberg and Sven Nordenstam, additional
reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Mark Potter)