Telia will pay just shy of $1 billion to settle a corruption investigation into its opco in Uzbekistan, as three former employees face further charges from the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

The operator was found to have channelled $330 million through the US and the Netherlands to bribe Uzbek government officials between 2007 and 2010, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

These payments helped Telia subsidiary Coscom secure access to the market, including acquiring 3G and 4G licences, investigators found.

Telia has been under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US, as well as the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM).

The Sweden-based company will now pay out $965 million to settle the case, less than the $1.4 billion it feared it would have to pay last September.

It received a 25 percent discount for cooperating with the investigation and for its efforts to remedy its governance.

The figure comprises a $548 million fine, split equally between the DOJ and OM, plus a $417 million penalty for the gain of unlawful profits, known as a disgorgement, to the SEC.

The latter sum will be offset by up to $208.5 million against any further disgorgements obtained by the Swedish Prosecution Authority or Dutch authorities.

The former has already announced it will seek to recoup profits and said it also plans to prosecute three former, unnamed Telia employees.

Telia CEO Johan Dennelind said the settlement brought to an end “an unfortunate chapter” in the company’s history.

“Since 2013 the new board and management have worked diligently and responsibly to understand what went wrong, to remedy what has been broken and to regain trust from all our stakeholders,” he said.

“We have come a long way to establish a more sustainable company with a strong focus on governance and compliance but it is a never-ending journey as we aspire to embed this into our culture making sure that all employees understand the importance of doing the right thing all the time.”

Chair of the Board Marie Ehrling said the company had done “everything in its power” to take responsibility for its actions in Uzbekistan, including “solid sustainability work” and “major cultural changes”.

“Our ambition throughout the entire process has been to be as transparent as possible and to establish a trustful co-operation with the authorities in question.”

[Read more: Telia to cut 850 jobs as it registers Q2 loss]

VEON, then known as Vimpelcom, was also caught up in a corruption scandal over bribery in Uzbekistan.

It admitted wrongdoing in 2016 and paid a fine of $795 million.

More News

Iliad enters content game in France, finally launches Italian mobile business Iliad enters content game in France, finally launches Italian mobile business Iliad has acquired football rights in France and launched its opco in Italy as it looks to reboot after a disappointing set of financial results. More detail
Three UK appoints new CCO, CFO Three UK appoints new CCO, CFO The departure of Three UK's Chief Commercial Officer after just 18 months in the job has triggered a shake-up of the mobile operator's top team. More detail
TalkTalk to sell enterprise customer base to Daisy as it registers full-year loss TalkTalk to sell enterprise customer base to Daisy as it registers full-year loss TalkTalk has agreed to sell 80,000 business customers to rival Daisy Group in a £175 million deal. More detail
A1 Telekom Austria Group rebrand reaches Bulgaria A1 Telekom Austria Group rebrand reaches Bulgaria Bulgaria is the third A1 Telekom Austria Group opco to get rebranded as the telco looks to market itself as a provider of "advanced" IT, IoT, cloud and content services. More detail
Orange Business Services puts IoT to use on saving ships’ fuel costs Orange Business Services puts IoT to use on saving ships’ fuel costs Orange Business Services has expanded its work with Dobroflot by developing a customised IoT solution for the Russian fishing company. More detail
    

@eurocomms