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TeliaSonera CEO to stay amid corruption allegations

Lars Nyberg, CEO at TeliaSonera

CEO of Swedish operator group TeliaSonera Lars Nyberg has been given a vote of confidence from the firm’s board, amid allegations of corruption and bribery.

The Committee on Industry and Trade of the Swedish Parliament is currently investigating TeliaSonera’s purchase of a telecom license in Uzbekistan from  Gibraltar-based company Takilant. The firm served as the operator’s local partner when the Nordic telecom firm established operations in 2007, but is alleged to have close ties with the daughter of Uzbekistan’s dictator Islam Karimov.

The allegations are particularly serious given that TeliaSonera is partly owned by the Swedish government. Nyberg met with the Committee on Industry and Trade of the Swedish Parliament last week to discuss the allegations.

“I am completely convinced there are no grounds to the corruption allegations directed at the company and we cooperate fully with the authorities regarding the ongoing investigation,” he said.

“I also spoke to the committee about TeliaSonera’s decision to ask law firm Mannheimer Swartling to investigate whether there is any truth to these allegations. I assured them that we have given this issue the highest possible priority and that the investigation will be completed by the end of the year.”

Reports in Sweden suggesting that Nyberg would be forced to leave TeliaSonera earlier than planned because of the allegations have been played down by the firm’s board. His current contracted expires in December 2013, and while the  board has no plans to extend that contract, Anders Narvinger, TeliaSonera’s chairman said he has full confidence in the CEO.

“To find a replacement for a CEO of one of Sweden’s largest corporations is a long process which the Board initiated before the current debate started,” he said.

The operator added that it is currently subject to a police investigation and has initiated an external investigation to try and provide answers to the allegations. It will await their results before commenting further.

Håkan Dahlström, TeliaSonera’s president of mobility services, was ousted from his role at the operator in September, but TeliaSonera told Telecoms.com that his departure was in no way related to these allegations.

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