Moscow. On 5 November. The former head of the telecommunications holding Vimpelcom Jo Lunder was arrested on Wednesday, November 4, in Oslo, told Norwegian broadcasting company NRK with reference to the lawyer of the former Manager of the Kato Region.
The lawyer has not yet seen the indictment, but suggested that it is about the investigation of corruption transactions of Vimpelcom in Uzbekistan. Schutz stressed that the former head of holding has no relation to allegedly corrupt deals in Uzbekistan.
The Lunder was arrested at the airport in the Norwegian capital after arriving on a flight from London, says to NRK. Currently he is in custody and awaiting interrogation.
OKOKRIM – a special unit of the Norwegian police Prosecutor’s office for combating economic and environmental crime – on Thursday said that it provides the authorities in the Netherlands and Switzerland help to obtain information from Telenor and assist with the interrogations of the defendants in the investigation in Norway.
Prosecutor from OKOKRIM Marianne Dopeland NRK has confirmed the arrest of Lunder and corruption charges. The representative of Vimpelcom has not yet commented on reports of arrest of Landera.
Jo Lunder resigned as head of Vimpelcom in March of this year and until July was an adviser to the company. Then Vimpelcom has not named the reasons of resignation of the Manager, limiting the standard phrase “other career opportunities”. Analysts linked the resignation of Landera that in his post he has not fulfilled the ambitious goals of the holding relative to the Italian subsidiary Wind telecommunications.
The Lunder has headed Vimpelcom in June 2011, 5 years after the transactions in Uzbekistan. Previously, from April 2001 to October 2003 he headed the Russian “VimpelCom”. As CEO he was replaced by Alexander Izosimov. After retiring from his chair of the head of the Russian company Lunder was included in its Board of Directors (until 2005 as Chairman), and later to the Board of Directors of Vimpelcom.
The Uzbek case
As previously reported, the U.S. government and the Netherlands are investigating the Vimpelcom transaction with Takilant Ltd., which is associated with the daughter of Uzbekistan’s President Gulnara Karimova. In connection with the investigation in the company reporting for the third quarter reflects a reserve of $900 million This amount is based on “the ongoing appraisal of the investigation”, but to determine exactly how much the company will cost the solution to this problem, while it is impossible, notes Vimpelcom.
Vimpelcom in 2014 disclosed information about transactions with Takilant in the annual report on form 20-F, stating that in 2007, Takilant sold 7% of its Uzbek business for $20 million, and in 2009 bought back for $57.5 million in addition, Vimpelcom paid Takilant $57 million for frequency 3G and LTE, as well as the communication channels.
In January of this year, Telenor, the Norwegian shareholder of Vimpelcom, has posted an anonymous report received by the Ministry of trade, industry and fisheries of Norway, from which it follows that Vimpelcom paid to Gulnara Karimova from 2006 to 2012 and turned her considerably more money than previously reported – $219.5 million
Earlier Thursday, Telenor, which owns a 33% economic interest and 43% of the votes in Vimpelcom, announced that it has hired Deloitte Advokatfirma as legal Advisor to assess the management shares in the Dutch holding company. Deloitte will prepare for Telenor review, which, among other things, will review the decision of the representatives of the Norwegian company in the Board of Directors of Vimpelcom on transactions in Uzbekistan. The Deloitte review will cover the activities of the Norwegian company for 10 years, since 2005, and will be published.
Telenor this week expressed concern over the decision of Vimpelcom on reservation $900 million in the financial statements, assessing this as a negative signal in terms of the possible outcomes of the investigation. In early October, Telenor also said it would sell its stake in Vimpelcom, citing, among other things, the lack of control in the company and reduce the share of Vimpelcom in the value of the core business of the Norwegian holding. The corruption scandal is another probable cause of intent to sell Telenor’s shares in Vimpelcom when they are trading near historic lows.
The subject of study of law enforcement agencies of several countries is also an activity in Uzbekistan Swedish-Finnish TeliaSonera and Russia’s MTS. This company has not yet announced about the creation of reserves for payment as part of the investigation. “MTS is cooperating with the investigation, and it is too early to draw any conclusions on the basis of experience of other companies in the market of Uzbekistan”, – said the Russian statement.
In August, American authorities have approached a number of European countries with the request for the seizure of assets worth about $1 billion in connection with the investigation of corruption in the work of telecommunications operators in Uzbekistan, reported The Wall Street Journal, citing court documents and private sources.