Vilhelm Stokstad / TT
Telia Sonera's Chairwoman of the board of directors Marie Ehrling and CEO Johan Dennelind. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad / TT.

TeliaSonera announces it will leave central Asian market

After its involvement in two highly publicized bribery scandals, telecom giant TeliaSonera announced it will pull out of seven markets in central Asia.

The countries - which include Nepal, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Tajikistan - collectively accounted for more than 21 percent of the company's sales revenues during the first two quarters.

TeliaSonera, Sweden's former state telephone monopoly, says it will eventually leave the market and focus instead on Europe and Sweden, reports Swedish Radio news.

Company president and CEO Johan Dennelind said reaching the decision wasn't easy.

"We have come to a point where we have done all we can. We do not know who is our ultimate shareholder in Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan," he said at a press conference Thursday morning.

TeliaSonera was recently under investigation for bribery and money laundering in connection with its expansion into Uzbekistan. The company was also under suspicion of illegally colluding with the presidential family in Azerbaijan in a bid for market expansion there.

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