United Kingdom: Fraud office investigates O2 bribery allegations

Britain’s biggest mobile network, O2, is co-operating with the Serious Fraud Office over allegations of bribery, in an investigation that threatens to confirm long-standing suspicions of widespread corruption.

The ongoing investigation was triggered after a management shake-up in 2017, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Industry sources said it relates to allegations that O2 executives were involved in the payment of kickbacks with customers.

Rumours that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was looking into mobile network sales practices have swirled ever since O2’s management shake-up. The network has been forced to tacitly confirm the investigation following its merger with the broadband provider Virgin Media.

The £31bn tie-up created a rival to BT with ownership of both a mobile network and a broadband infrastructure. With more than 34m connections, including Giffgaff and Sky Mobile customers, O2 is Britain’s biggest network ahead of BT’s mobile arm EE.

In a quarterly financial statement required by the heavy bond debt imposed as part of the merger with Virgin, it said: “O2 has been addressing a request for disclosure made by governmental authorities which is related to possible violations of anti-bribery laws and regulations.

“O2 continues to co-operate with the governmental authorities investigating this matter which is still ongoing.”

The original full article can be found at telegraph.co.uk

(Photo: SVEN HOPPE/DPA/ALAMY)

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