07:32 GMT +314 October 2019
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    VimpelCom to Pay $795Mln in Bribery Fines to US, Netherlands - Justice Dept

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    The world’s sixth-largest telecommunications company VimpelCom Limited will pay more than $795 million in bribery fines to the United States and Netherlands, the US Department of Justice announced in a press release.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — VimpelCom, headquartered in Amsterdam, describes itself as "one of the world's largest integrated telecommunications services operators" on its website.

    “Thus, the combined total amount of US and Dutch criminal and regulatory penalties paid by VimpelCom will be $795,326,398.40, making it one of the largest global foreign bribery resolutions ever,” the release said on Thursday.

    VimpelCom and its wholly owned Uzbek subsidiary Unitel LLC entered into resolutions with the Justice Department having admited to bribing a government official in Uzbekistan to gain access to the country's telecom market, according to the statement.

    "In a related action, the [Justice] Department also filed a civil complaint today seeking the forfeiture of more than $550 million held in Swiss bank accounts," the release added.

    The Justice Department argued the funds constitute bribe payments made by VimpelCom and two separate telecommunications companies, or funds involved in the laundering of those payments to the Uzbek official.

    US and Dutch prosecutors have been investigating deals made by VimpelCom — alongside Russia's biggest telecom provider MTS and the Scandinavian company TeliaSonera — with the company Takilant, which has been associated with Uzbek President Islam Karimov's daughter’s Gulnara.

    In August 2015, US authorities requested five European countries to freeze $1 billion of Gulnara Karimova's assets as part of the so-called Uzbek Case.

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