The controversial telecoms firm VimpelCom that’s owned by Norwegian and Russian interests is changing its name to VEON. The name change comes after the company has faced serious charges of international corruption.
Norway’s state-controlled telecoms firm Telenor currently owns 23.7 percent of VimpelCom’s shares. Telenor has also been in trouble for years over its VimpelCom investment and its failure to ward off the corruption at its subsidiary that involved alleged bribes paid to the daughter of the leader of Uzbekistan, where VimpelCom was applying for mobile phone licenses. At one point, Telenor owned as much as 33 percent of VimpelCom but now is trying to sell off its remaining stake.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that VimpelCom nonetheless reported profits equal to around NOK 6.5 billion in the fourth quarter of last year. VimpelCom officials claimed the name change was tied to plans to list the company on the stock exchange in Amsterdam, where VimpelCom is now based. The company also reportedly plans to transform itself from a telecoms firm specializing in mobile phone operations to a technology company.