Swedish telecom firm Telia says may be hit with $1.4 bn in corruption fines

US and Dutch authorities are seeking $1.4 billion from Telia to settle probes into alleged corrupt practices by the Swedish telecoms operator in the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan, Telia said Thursday.
It said the proposals for the settlement did not go into much detail “but suggests a total settlement amount of approximately USD 1.4 billion” (1.25 billion euros), the company said in a statement.
The probes were opened in March 2014 into alleged payments made to an Uzbek firm for the purpose of obtaining a mobile operating licence as well as a 26 percent stake in the Uzbek operator Ucell.
“I have said on many occasions in the past that Telia Company’s entry into Uzbekistan was done in an unethical and wrongful way and we are prepared to take full responsibility,” chairwoman Marie Ehrling said in a statement.
She said Telia was cooperating with the probes, but that the company “will now have to analyse the information and decide on how to proceed with the ongoing discussions with the authorities.”
Ehrling added that “our initial reaction to the proposal is that the amount is very high.”
US authorities often pursues corruption cases against foreign companies, even if they have little or no relation to the United States.