TeliaSonera sacks four executives on corruption suspicions

STOCKHOLM - Swedish-Finnish telecom operator TeliaSonera dismissed four top executives on Friday for possible links to an alleged corruption case during the group's expansion in Uzbekistan. The company has only revealed the name of one of the executives, chief financial officer Per-Arne Blomquist.

"The board's conclusion is that some senior employees no longer have the trust of the board," chairman Marie Ehrling said in a press release.

"As a result they have been notified that their employment with TeliaSonera will be terminated and they will leave their positions effective immediately."

Last February, TeliaSonera's chief executive Lars Nyberg stepped down after receiving criticism for his handling of the affair and was replaced by Blomquist, who acted as interim CEO for five months.

Swedish prosecutors launched a corruption probe in September 2012 after a TV news programme claimed the company had paid an Uzbek company a bribe of 2.2 billion kronor (238 million euros, $325 million at the time) to obtain a 3G licence in the country and a 26 percent stake in mobile carrier Ucell.

TeliaSonera, which initially denied the payment was a bribe, seemed Friday to have changed its approach based on the first conclusions by a law firm it hired to review the case.

"Together with the board I have come to the conclusion that the way some transactions in the past were managed does not live up to the high standards of business ethics and transparency that TeliaSonera wants to stand for," chief executive Johan Dennelind said in the press release.

"The review is still on-going," the company added.