TeliaSonera AB, Sweden’s biggest phone carrier, said it’s being “open and transparent” about its purchase of a stake in Azerbaijan’s Azercell amid media allegations that the transaction may have constituted a bribe.
Swedish news agency TT and state-run broadcaster SVT reported on Wednesday that one of TeliaSonera’s holding companies in 2008 bought a stake in phone operator Azercell from Azerbaijan’s government for $180 million, which was lower than the estimated market value of $785 million at the time.
TeliaSonera then allegedly let local partner Cenay Iletisimm, which TT and SVT said has ties to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s family, take over the company at no immediate cost. Instead, the company would pay back through dividends from the joint operations, according to TT and SVT.
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