Telenor's chairman resigns amid investigations over Uzbek operations

By bne IntelliNews November 3, 2015

Svein Aaser, the chairman of Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor, announced his resignation on October 30, Telenor said in a statement the same day.

Aaser’s decision came the midst of investigations by US and European prosecutors over the business dealings of Amsterdam-based VimpelCom, in which Telenor has a 33% minority stake, in Uzbekistan. Nordic peer TeliaSonera and Russian MTS are also being scrutinised for supposedly bribing their way into the Uzbek mobile market. The companies allegedly transferred dubious payments to bank accounts linked to Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of long-serving President Islam Karimov. On October 5, Telenor also announced its intention to divest all of its shares from VimpelCom.

“Telenor’s Board together with the new CEO decided to divest the company’s minority stake in VimpelCom,” Aaser said in the resignation statement. “As part of the review, I also assessed my own position. The VimpelCom case has been ongoing for several years, and it has been demanding and complex to manage.”

TeliaSonera also announced its intention to slowly disinvest from its other troublesome Eurasian assets.

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