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Telia is being investigated for bribery in Nepal

Thursday, 11 October 2012
The Swedish - Finnish state owned telecom giant, Telia Sonera's business in Nepal is increasingly becoming another trouble sport for the company. The question asked now is how ethical has the company been performing there when more allegation of corrupt dealing emerged recently.

Owned by the governments of Sweden and Finland it would be expected that openness, respect for human rights, corruption - free and increased ethic will be the order of the day of its operations. But Swedish media sources have identified that the company is increasingly carrying out deal that are not so ethnically friendly.  

After Uzbekistan and various tax havens deals, comes Nepal where the company is said to have bought a company Ncell. In relations to the purchases, it turns out that TeliaSonera paid over Skr4 billion to another company controlled by the son of the King of Nepal, report Swedish daily Dagens Nyehter.

This has ignited stark and hardened criticism from the Swedish Financial Markets Minister, Peter Norman regarding the disputed transactions.

The paper report that the Swedish business weekly, Veckans Affärer (Business Week) in its upcoming issue has identified several local governments and criminal under investigations of corruption, bribery and tax evasion which have been associated with TeliaSonera's links to Ncell and that the Nepalese companies are links to the son in law of teh king of the country, Raj Bahadur Singh.

When TeliaSonera CEO, Lars Nyberg, announced the deal in Nepal in autumn 2008, no mention was made of the peculiar circumstances of Ncell purchase.

Swedish media review of the Nepal operations identified that the deal took place  with a company in the British Virgin Islands called Zhodar Investment which TeliaSonera had done business with. TeliaSonera Chairman, Anders Narvinger will not say if he knows who is behind Zhodar Investment, according to Dagens Nyheter

"We have a successful business in Nepal. But to get accurate information about the business, you get to talk to the company concerned," says Anders Narvinger, to Dagens Nyheter.

TeliaSonera has chosen not to comment on its dealings about its relations with Zhodar Investment.

While the Swedish Financial Markets Minister, Peter Norman, who represents the major shareholder of the company, given that the Swedish government along with its Finnish counterpart own majority shares in the company, has increased his tone on TeliaSonera to act up.

Peter Norman told a Swedish parliamentary committee that he assumes that the Company and the Board would not limit the review, which is on going to only the legal issues, but also look at whether the company's actions comply with state and company guidelines.

Another one leading shareholder, insurance group,  Folksam calls for greater transparency in the investigation.
There are also other investigation relating to Skr1.5 billion transferred to Sweden by the Uzbek company, Takilant which has business dealings with TeliaSonera in Uzbekistan. Given the weary circumstances of the of the financial transfer, the investigation of serious bribery and aggravated corruption is being carried out by the chief prosecutor, Gunnar Stetler. Details about that will come from the district court in Stockholm on Monday.
by Team

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