TeliaSonera Says Swedish Prosecutors Open Uzbekistan Bribe Probe

TeliaSonera AB, the phone carrier that operates in 17 countries, said Swedish police have collected information from its offices as authorities open a probe into allegations of bribes in Uzbekistan.

TeliaSonera, whose largest shareholder is the Swedish government with a 37.3 percent stake, said the anti-corruption unit of the Swedish Prosecuting Authorities has started an investigation after a television report alleging bribes and money laundering in Uzbekistan.

“We welcome” the probe, the Stockholm-based company said in a statement on its website today. “TeliaSonera will cooperate fully with the investigation.”

The operator has faced a backlash from Swedish media after state-run television channel SVT on Sept. 19 alleged TeliaSonera’s payments of 2.2 billion kronor ($332 million) for telecom licenses in Uzbekistan to a Gibraltar-based company constituted a bribe. Chief Executive Officer Lars Nyberg denied the allegations and said the company has started its own investigation into the matter.

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