Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO Telenor Group, yesterday stepped down from VimpelCom board at a time when VimpelCom is being investigated for allegedly bribing Uzbek authorities for acquiring telecom licenses in the country.
A statement issued by Telenor group late last night said that Baksaas will be withdrawing from VimpelCom board with immediate effect.
It maybe recalled that Telenor holds a 33% financial rights and 43% voting rights in VimpelCom.
Move is triggered by an on-going investigation, started last month, that involves VimpelCom’s alleged role in bribing Uzbekistan’s first daughter (valuing as much as USD 55 million) for acquiring licenses in the country in 2007 and 2011.
Norwegian Government, that owns about 54% stakes in Telenor group, is likely to open a hearing on the case. A government committee had summoned Telenor Group’s Chairman and CEO last week to know the details.
It must be noted that as per Norwegian laws, all Norwegian laws are applicable on all Norway registered companies and on their holdings, subsidiaries and partners.
Telenor might consider to ultimately withdraw its stakes from VimpelCom if allegations are proved.
It must be noted that Telenor Pakistan is 100% owned operation of Telenor Group, while Mobilink is 100% owned subsidiary of VimpelCom.