| STOCKHOLM, April 18
STOCKHOLM, April 18 Telecoms firm TeliaSonera
has appointed a law firm to scrutinise its Eurasian
operations following heavy criticism of its activities in
Uzbekistan and other countries.
Partly state-owned Telia, which has also been in hot water
for allowing authorities in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan to access
its networks to keep tabs on anti-government activists, said on
Thursday it had asked Norton Rose to look at deals it had made
in the region.
"The aim of the review is to give TeliaSonera's new board of
directors a clear picture of the company's transactions in
Eurasia and to perform a risk assessment from a business ethical
perspective," Telia said in a statement.
Telia's Eurasia unit, which also services clients in
Tajikistan, Georgia, Moldova and Nepal, accounted for around 19
percent of total sales in 2012.
Swedish prosecutors have been carrying out a preliminary
investigation since last year into the company's purchase of a
3G telecom license in Uzbekistan amid allegations of bribery.
Two Telia executives have been named as suspects by
prosecutors and a Swedish court has frozen the assets of the
company Telia bought its Uzbek licence from.
A separate investigation commissioned by Telia, published
earlier this year, did not uncover any evidence of bribery or
money laundering, but sharply criticised the deal saying a lack
of due diligence made it difficult to rule out corruption
somewhere along the line.
The company's former top executive resigned in the wake of
Telia's board was also replaced earlier this month. The
previous board said it was committed to its operations in
Eurasia, but it could consider withdrawing from countries where
business and ethical risks were too high.
Telia said its latest review would be finished by the end of
(Ediitng by Alistair Scrutton and David Holmes)