Telia Sonera battles for Turkcell

Swedish-Finnish telecommunications operator TeliaSonera said on Monday it was stepping up its fight for Turkey's biggest operator Turkcell by suing Russia's Alfa Group for alleged wrongful interference with its efforts.

TeliaSonera is already locked in a legal battle with Turkcell’s majority owner, Cukurova, which it accuses of failing to honour an agreement to sell a key Turkcell stake to the Nordic company, dealing with Alfa instead.

“TeliaSonera initiates legal actions against Russian Alfa Group for its tortious interference in the transaction between TeliaSonera and the Turkish Cukurova Group,” it said.

TeliaSonera announced in March that it would pay Cukurova 3.1 billion dollars for 27 percent of Turkcell, taking its total holding to 64.3 percent.

But two months later, Cukurova suddenly declined to sign the final deal and said it was looking instead at options that would not change control of Turkcell.

As a result, Alfa on Monday announced it had completed the purchase of 13.22 percent in Turkcell from Cukurova via the purchase of convertible bonds for 1.593 billion dollars.

TeliaSonera has argued it should have been offered the Turkcell stake first because it had the right of first refusal.

“The transactions between Cukurova and Alfa have now materialized to such a degree that TeliaSonera has decided to take legal actions also against Alfa,” TeliaSonera said.

Alfa had confirmed its “ambitions and actions to make an alternative transaction come through despite the existing agreement” between TeliaSonera and Cukurova, the Nordic company charged.

Separately, TeliaSonera said it was also taking legal action after some 135 million dollars had allegedly been taken out of Turkcell’s bank accounts without authorization.

TeliaSonera said it had reason to believe that the money had been taken out by Cukurova to settle debts with the Turkish government.

Turkcell, which has around 25 million subscribers, is the first Turkish company to be listed on Wall Street.



Telia leaks customers’ private phone logs

Swedish telecom firm Telia has come under fire after the company published customers' private information, leaked their bills online, and revealed lists of SMS and phone call recipients.

Telia leaks customers' private phone logs

Several customers of Telia, the Swedish subsidiary of Swedish-Finnish telecom company TeliaSonera, learned this week that their information had been leaked for several months and was still available on Google cached documents. One of those affected was 28-year-old Madelene Dalebrand Wachler from Hudiksvall in eastern Sweden.

“[Swedish tabloid] Aftonbladet rang me and explained that my billing statements were viewable online… you could come in directly and see it all – all the calls I’d made and all the people to whom I had sent an SMS,” she told The Local.

The information came with names, addresses, telephone numbers and even lengths of the phone calls.

“It’s terrible. Some of the people I had contacted had private and unpublished numbers, and all of this has been leaked by Telia,” she added.

Wachler has since contacted authorities at Sweden’s Data Inspectorate (Datainspektionen) who have promised to launch an investigation into the matter.

“I’m also looking into getting compensation from Telia. Information shouldn’t be available like this, it’s horrible and it’s quite scary actually. And it makes it harder to trust all these big companies,” she said.

Telia spokesman Hans G. Larsson was shocked to learn of the leaks, confirming that only a few people were affected.

“This in unacceptable, of course, and it’s something we will be looking into. We do offer our customers confidentiality and this involves the data protection act,” he told Aftonbladet.

He explained that the system had been shuttered later on Monday night, which meant no customers were able to see their own statements online at the time.

“If you need to pay a bill over the coming days, you can log into My Pages [Mina sidor] on Telia to see the statements,” Larsson told the TT news agency.

“Thank goodness, this seems to have been very limited. Nothing points to it being a large group of customers being affected, but it’s bad enough already,” Larsson told the TT news agency.

Oliver Gee

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