SEC secures $965 million from telecommunications company charged with bribing Uzbek official

By Mark Iandolo | Oct 2, 2017

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Sept. 21 that Telia Company AB, a telecommunications company with headquarters in Sweden, will pay $965 million after settling allegations of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to win business in Uzbekistan.

The global settlement agreement involves Telia, the SEC, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Dutch and Swedish law enforcement.

Telia will pay $457 million in disgorgement, as well as $508 million in penalties. The penalties resolve allegations that Telia paid at least $330 million in bribes to a shell company in Uzbekistan in order to enter the Uzbek telecommunications market.

An Uzbek government official and family member of the country’s president owned the shell company. In return for bribes, he would allegedly exert influence over Uzbek officials to help Telia.

“Corporate bribery is not just unfair and illegal, it has terribly corrosive effects on business, government and society,” said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “As this global settlement demonstrates, the SEC continues to work closely with our counterparts at home and abroad to expose and pursue such corruption.”

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