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UPDATE 2-Norwegian police drop inquiry into ex-Vimpelcom chief
November 1, 2017 / 8:56 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Norwegian police drop inquiry into ex-Vimpelcom chief

(Adds Lunder, lawyer quotes, PIX in slug)

By Joachim Dagenborg

OSLO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Norwegian police have ended a corruption investigation into the former chief executive of Vimpelcom, the company now known as Veon, saying on Wednesday he was no longer a suspect.

Jo Lunder, who has maintained he was innocent, was briefly held by police in 2015 as part of a probe into Vimpelcom’s business in Uzbekistan and had since been under investigation.

Following his arrest, Lunder resigned from his position as chief executive of the Fredriksen Group, a company controlling billionaire investor John Fredriksen’s holdings in shipping, oil services, fish farming and other business.

“The case has been dropped,” the police said in a statement.

Lunder said he felt broken by the investigation.

“It feels empty ... I spent 30 years building myself up and now it’s all burned to the ground,” he told a news conference.

“If, however unlikely, a new position as CEO were to come along, I think I’d most likely turn it down,” he added.

Lunder now plans to sue the police for damages, his lawyer said.

“I don’t know of anyone investigated by the financial crimes unit who suffered an economic loss of the size Lunder has. We haven’t even begun thinking of how big it is, but it’s extremely extensive,” Cato Schioetz said of the pending lawsuit.

Vimpelcom admitted in February 2016 to having paid more than $114 million in bribes to a high-ranking Uzbekistan official, and agreed to pay $795 million in penalties to resolve related U.S. and Dutch probes. (Writing by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Gwladys Fouche/Mark Potter/Alexander Smith)

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