U.S. and Dutch authorities have proposed a US$1.4 billion settlement with Swedish telecommunications company Telia (previously TeliaSonera) to resolve corruption violations relating to its transactions in Uzbekistan, which could make it one of the largest fines ever under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Telia announced in March 2014 that U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission were conducting an investigation into possible FCPA violations, and that the company had been ordered to hand over documents relating to its transactions in Uzbekistan. At the time, Telia was also facing an investigation in the Netherlands by Dutch authorities.
“The common denominator for our contacts with the authorities is that we are asked for information about TeliaSonera’s investments in Uzbekistan and documents related to these,” said Peter Borsos, TeliaSonera’s head of group communications.
In a recent statement, Chairman Marie Ehrling noted, “I have said on many occasions in the past that Telia Company’s entry into Uzbekistan was done in an unethical and wrongful way, and we are prepared to take full responsibility. We are cooperating fully with the authorities to bring clarity to the matter.
“With that said, our initial reaction to the proposal is that the amount is very high,” Ehrling added. “We will now have to analyze the information and decide on how to proceed with the ongoing discussions with the authorities.”