Telco giant TeliaSonera bet big that the smart money was in Uzbekistan, but following lengthy investigations by US and Dutch authorities, they disagreed and slapped the Swedish firm with a huge $1.4bn fine, reports Telecoms.com’s Scott Bicheno.
“I have said on many occasions in the past that Telia Company’s entry into Uzbekistan was done in an unethical and wrongful way and we are prepared to take full responsibility,” said Telia Chairman Marie Ehrling.
What it boils down to is a back-handed deal with the daughter of recently-deceased Uzbekistan dictator Islam Karimov. Daughter Gulnara Karimova is reported to have pocketed a cool $1bn to rig the Uzbek telecoms market.
Russian firm VimpelCom was previously investigated for similar corruption and subsequently fined a whopping $835m. The take away from all of this is that dealing with impoverished troubled countries might not be worth the trouble after all.