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Telia To Pay $1.4 Billion To Settle Bribery Probes

Telia Chairman Marie Ehrling

Nordic telecommunications operator Telia says it will have to pay $1.4 billion to settle U.S. and Dutch probes into deals the company made in Uzbekistan in 2007.

U.S. and Swedish prosecutors believe the company paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to Gulnara Karimova, elder daughter of late Uzbek President Islam Karimov, in an effort to secure telecom licenses in Uzbekistan.

"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," Telia Chairman Marie Ehrling said in a statement on September 15.

The Swedish-Finnish communications giant has been planning to pull out of seven Eurasian countries, including Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Moldova, and Tajikistan.

Telia had previously said an internal investigation had found the company had broken its own ethical rules but didn’t breach any laws.

Based on reporting by AFP and The Wall Street Journal