Sveriges Television (SVT) current affairs programme Uppdrag Granskning reported on Wednesday that the two TeliaSonera managers are under investigation for having paid off the daughter of the Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Gulnara Karimova, in order to establish the company in the central Asian country.
“I can confirm that my client is suspected of crime,” lawyer Hans Strandberg told SVT, adding that his client denies the allegations.
TeliaSonera also denied that the senior managers were involved in any foul play.
Since September, when news of the Uzbek deal first hit Swedish media, the telecom firm has been under the microscope, but has strongly denied the allegations.
“Telia Sonera bribed no one. TeliaSonera did not take part in any money laundering,” the company CEO Lars Nyberg at the time told the TT news agency.
However, prosecutor Berndt Berger told the court otherwise in a hearing last Friday.
“The event was partly planned in Sweden, decisions were made in Sweden, and the money was paid out from TeliaSonera’s accounts in Sweden,” he told the court, according to SVT.
“There is reasonable suspicion of bribery. The report is comprehensive and yet only in its initial stage. This will take a long time.”
Following the September revelations, the Telia CEO announced that he would be stepping down from his post earlier than planned, although the company said Nyberg’s departure had nothing to do with the Uzbek deals.