MTS Will Pay a Large Fine to USA
OREANDA-NEWS MTS mobile operator has agreed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Department of justice on the settlement of claims of corruption during the company's entry into the Uzbek market, according to the release. The company will pay $ 850 million fine, according to a settlement agreement concluded with the US authorities. The corresponding amount was reserved by the operator last year - at the end of the third quarter.
"The signing of the settlement agreement is a logical step for the company, which will allow MTS to fully focus on the implementation of the strategy of transition from the classic Telecom operator to the model of the integrator of modern digital solutions," the company said. According to the President of the company Alexey Korni, MTS group "will continue to invest in business development within the planned capital expenditures". The operator will pay a fine from the funds reserved for this purpose at the end of the third quarter of 2018.
In 2014, the US Department of justice and the SEC launched an investigation into corruption in the telecommunications market of Uzbekistan against MTS, Veon (including the Russian VimpelCom) and the Swedish company Telia Company AB (before the renaming — TeliaSonera) — all three companies were traded on us stock exchanges. The investigation suspected these companies of corrupt payments to structures allegedly associated with the daughter of the first President of Uzbekistan Gulnara Karimova. In total, MTS and Veon paid more than $500 million to encourage the official to use influence in the government of Uzbekistan and help companies enter the new market and work on it, the investigation suggested.
In particular, MTS entered the Uzbek market in August 2004, buying 74% of the local company Uzdunrobita for $121 million, while paying $100 million for 33% of MTS shares to offshore Swisdorn (the company is associated with Karimova). At the same time, the American International Communication Group received for 41% of the company several times less - $21 million in total, the US Department of justice counted between MTS and Swisdorn and Takilant (also considered associated with the daughter of the first President of Uzbekistan) at least eight disputed transactions totaling $380 million.
In respect of VimpelCom have been seven suspicious transactions amounting to $133.5 million In February 2016, the operator entered into a settlement agreement with the obligation to pay compensation in the amount of $795 million In September 2017, Telia announced that it would pay $965 million fine.