CEO Johan Dennelind admitted the provisions had “severely impacted” the quarter’s results, but could not say when the discussions would conclude.
“We have been aware of the US and Dutch interest since March 2014, and have from the beginning cooperated with all authorities,” he explained. “Our discussions with relevant authorities continue with the goal of achieving a resolution that will be in the best interest of our shareholders. It is at present not possible to make a certain assessment on the final outcome or time for resolution, but we believe we are approaching the end of these investigations.”
The Uzbekistan scandal dates back to what was then TeliaSonera’s acquisition of Uzbekistan operator Coscom – later rebranded as Ucell – in July 2007. TeliaSonera "did not conduct a sufficiently in-depth analysis into the identity of our local partner in Uzbekistan before we invested in the country or into how this partner came to own the assets that were later obtained by TeliaSonera", said then CEO Lars Nyberg in his 2013 resignation statement.
A report by Swedish Television in September 2012 alleged that TeliaSonera paid $320 million for its Uzbekistan licences through Gayane Avakyan, an Uzbek woman in her late 20s described as having "close ties" to Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Islam Karimov, who had been president of Uzbekistan since 1991. Karimov died on 2 September 2016.