Three former employees of Telia have been cleared of alleged corruption relating to the group’s now-defunct operations in Uzbekistan.
The Swedish court acquitted the accused due to a lack of evidence, with Lars Nyberg - CEO of TeliaSonera prior to its rebrand as Telia - among the former employees. The operator’s current chair Marie Ehrling said that although the company itself was not part of the criminal case, it was nonetheless affected by the proceedings.
“Our ambition during this entire process has been to cooperate as transparently as possible with the authorities involved”, said Ehrling. “The entry into Uzbekistan which began in 2007 has had very serious consequences for Telia Company and for individuals alike. I hope that today’s ruling will bring an end to a painful and costly chapter in Telia Company’s history.”
Telia was found guilty of paying bribes worth $330 million in order to enter the Uzbek market. In September 2017, it ended up paying a total settlement of $965 million which was split between the Dutch and Swedish authorities as well as the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
However, now that the Swedish employees have been found innocent, $208.5 million of this settlement which would have been paid to Swedish authorities will now be allocated to Dutch or US organisations.