Ex-Telia chief Nyberg facing criminal charges

James Pearce
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Nyberg and two other ex-Telia execs will face charges over $1bn Uzbekistan scandal, according to Swedish prosecutors

Former Telia CEO Lars Nyberg is one of three former execs who have been indicted over the Uzbekistan scandal that cost the Swedish operator almost $1 billion.

The operator was hit with a $965 million fine last week after it agreed to pay US and Dutch regulators to settle a bribery case, which followed a long investigation into payments made by telecoms operators to the daughter of former Uzbeki president Islam Karimov.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said that Nyberg, along with two execs from Telia’s Eurasia unit, are to face criminal charges over the scandal. The prosecutors did not specify what those charges will be.

Nyberg became CEO in the same year that Telia, then TeliaSonera, entered Uzbekistan by buying Coscom, which trades as Ucell.

Telia has admitted to paying $330 million in corrupt payments to Takilant, a company linked with Karimov’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova, who is believed to be under house arrest in Uzbekistan.

Alongside Nyberg, Tero Kivisaari and Olli Tuohimaa, who were president and general cousnsel of TeliaSonera’s Eurasian unit, are also set to face charges, prosecutors said.

Nyberg is currently chairman at C-RAD, but the company has expressed its “definite support for and trust” in the former Telia chief. 

The Uzbek scandal has been a headache for several European operators. Telenor recently sold off part of its stake in Veon (formerly VimpelCom), which had agreed to pay $795 million to regulators over a similar issue.