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Vimpelcom Under Investigation Over Uzbek Operations

Vimpelcom operates under the Beeline brand and logo in Uzbekistan.
Amsterdam-based international telecom giant Vimpelcom is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Dutch authorities over its activities in Uzbekistan.

In a statement issued on March 12, Vimpelcom officials said they had been officially informed the previous day that the company is the focus of a criminal investigation.

Vimpelcom operates in Uzbekistan under the Beeline brand name.

In October, the company's Uzbekistan unit was the subject of an "extraordinary audit" by Uzbek authorities.

Uzbekistan has been a problematic country for foreign mobile companies to invest in.

In 2012, Russia's biggest telecom operator, Mobile TeleSystems (MBT), stopped operating in Uzbekistan and later filed for bankruptcy.

In February 2013, the chief executive of the Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera resigned following an independent review of business dealings with a partner in Uzbekistan.

Based on reporting,, and Reuters