Telenor’s internal corruption probe delayed

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Telenor’s own effort to find out what went wrong with its control over mobile phone firm VimpelCom is taking longer than expected. Its probe into how company executives reacted to corruption allegations a VimpelCom won’t be completed until later this spring.

Telenor asked accounting, law and consulting firm Deloitte in November to conduct the investigation. “I don’t know whether it will take two months or four months,” Telenor’s beleaguered chief exeutive Sigve Brekke said after hiring Deloitte.

It’s taking at least six months, if not more, reported newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). Deloitte asked Telenor for more time last week and the company agreed. The probe covers the period from 2005, when VimpelCom first began making expansion moves into the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, until today. VimpelCom has since admitted to corruption in connection with the Uzbekistan work, and agreed to pay a record fine.

Both Gunn Wærstad, the new leader of Telenor’s board, and government Trade Minister Monica Mæland are anxious to get the results of Deloitte’s probe. Wærstad has already admitted that Telenor could have done a better job of monitoring its investment in VimpelCom. Mæland is also keen to get Deloitte’s account of the trouble and how it could occur at one of Norway’s largest companies when both politicians and company executives have repeatedly claimed they have “zero tolerance” for corruption. The state owns 54 percent of Telenor stock, with both Mæland and her predecessors as trade minister also catching criticism for failing to better oversee the state’s investment.

newsinenglish.no staff