NGO alleges TeliaSonera pulls out of Eurasia market because of corruption scandals in Azerbaijan & Uzbekistan; company responds
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Author: Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)
TeliaSonera, the Swedish telecoms giant which has been linked by investigations to alleged multi-million dollar corruption in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, has announced that it is leaving the Eurasian market...[T]he company claims...[i]t...sought to focus more on developing its operations in European countries...However, TeliaSonera's recent history in Eurasia hinted at a different reason...[J]ournalists...found that the company had helped the family of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev take over his country's stake in telecom firm Azercell...In exchange, TeliaSonera received all necessary permits to operate in Azerbaijan, as well as preferential treatment. In the case of Uzbekistan, OCCRP reported that TeliaSonera bribed Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of the President, with more than one billion dollars to obtain permissions to operate in the country.
TeliaSonera has since 2013 had great focus on taking Eurasia to the next level. Substantial improvements have been made in areas such as corporate governance and sustainability. It is our belief that it is possible to do business in Eurasia which is both profitable and sustainable – but it is important to enter markets in a correct way. Even if a lot has improved, we still experience problems in our Eurasian operations, such as partners and repatriation of cash. Given also that TeliaSonera will increase its focus on its Regions Europe and Sweden within the strategy of creating the new TeliaSonera, we initiated a process in order to reduce the presence in Region Eurasia and over time fully leave.
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- This is a response from the following companies: TeliaSonera