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Top Telia boss in sex club bribery scandal

A high-ranking official from Swedish-Finnish telecom giant TeliaSonera, along with two colleagues, is under investigation for corruption in a scandal that reportedly involves expensive mobile phones, ice hockey and sex club visits, according to a report in the Metro newspaper.

Top Telia boss in sex club bribery scandal

“In questioning they have all admitted to some of the circumstances,” said district prosecutor Thomas Forsberg to the paper.

The three TeliaSonera employees are under suspicion for accepting bribes after being invited by a supplier to watch hockey games at the Malmö stadium on several occasions.

They are also suspected of accepting a free trip to Denmark by limousine offered by the same benefactor, where they were reportedly treated to a visit to a Copenhagen sex club.

Prosecutor Forsberg told Metro that the three men have admitted to attending the club:

“They don’t want to say more than that,” he told the paper.

The three telecoms employees are also under suspicion for having given away expensive mobile phones to friends and family, to the financial detriment of the company.

The high-ranking official was remanded into custody on suspicion of corruption earlier this year.

Together with two of his colleagues, he is under investigation for accepting bribes.

A fourth man, an employee at a computer company, is under suspicion for bribing the TeliaSonera boss and his colleagues.

According to the prosecutor, the investigation is nearing completion and may result in charges filed in four cases.

“It may mean charges of aggravated bribery for at least one of them,” Forsberg told Metro.

The news comes just days after reports that TeliaSonera may have paid bribes to a woman with ties to the regime of Uzbek president Islam Karimov in order to secure 3G licences in the country.

Russian authorities are also investigating TeliaSonera’s dealings in Uzbekistan, according to Russian media reports, in a probe to determine if a cartel including TeliaSonera played a role in having a Russian telecoms firm kicked out of the the former Soviet republic.

The Local/rm

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TELIASONERA

‘Rotten’ business claims at Nordic TeliaSonera

Swedish-Finnish telecom operator TeliaSonera has been accused of “rotten” business dealings in Azerbaijan, following a separate bribery scandal in Uzbekistan.

'Rotten’ business claims at Nordic TeliaSonera
A TeliaSonera conference in Stockholm last year. Photo: TT

Folksam, which is one of the largest insurance companies in Sweden, has accused the firm of “systematic cheating”, after it emerged that TeliaSonera’s subsidiary in Azerbaijan had ties with the family of Ilham Aliyev, the Arab nation’s leader.

It has been claimed that the dictator’s daughters were shareholders of TeliaSonera's subsidiary Azertel, via a connected company based in Panama.

“It is distressing that in a large Swedish company…people thought that cheating would pay off in the long run,” Carina Lundberg Markow, one of Folksam’s managers told the TT news agency on Wednesday.

She criticized TeliaSonera for failing to act “in an honest and open way” when entering new markets.

“Instead, they choose to pay for success,” she added.

TeliaSonera is one of the biggest telecom operators in the Nordic and Baltic countries and also operates in several emerging markets in Eurasia including Russia and Turkey, as well as Spain. The Swedish state owns 37.3 percent of the company.

Swedish prosecutor Gunnar Stetler is already investigating claims of unethical business practices in Uzbekistan and told TT he had also been given new information concerning potential bribery in Azerbaijan.

The company has voluntarily cooperated with the investigation, handing over what Stetler describes as “extensive information” about “the terms and conditions in Eurasian countries”.

Stetler said he was unable to discuss how he had responded to the information. But calls are growing for TeliaSonera to release a public report about its business dealings.

“Now it is extremely important to create transparency,” said Lundberg Markow.

“This shows the importance of having a set of values when doing business in complex markets or countries,” she added.

TeliaSonera and Norwegian rival Telenor recently merged their operations in Denmark, while the telecoms giant last year purchased rival Tele2's Norwegian division for 5.1 kronor.