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Telenor execs resign as 'weaknesses' in Vimpelcom case come to light 

Norwegian operator shares details of Deloitte report into its handling of Vimpelcom case; discloses possible ethics violations in other markets.
Telenor announced that two top executives have resigned their positions on receipt of Deloitte's final report into its handling of the Vimpelcom corruption case.
The Norwegian incumbent was quick to point out that the report does not show any evidence that Telenor employees were involved in "corrupt actions or any other legal offences," but admitted it does uncover "internal weaknesses" at the company.
As a result, chief financial officer Richard Olav Aa and general counsel Pål Wien Espen have resigned their positions, Telenor said. Both have been on temporary suspension since November, pending the outcome of the Deloitte probe.
Two other employees, Fridtjof Rusten and Ole Bjørn Sjulstad, who formerly served on the Vimpelcom supervisory board, were suspended at the same time, but will now return to their former roles with Telenor.
Telenor hired Deloitte to review its handling of its Vimpelcom stake almost six months ago, as the ongoing Dutch and U.S. investigations into the Russian operator and its activities in Uzbekistan intensified.
Earlier this year, Vimpelcom admitted certain violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and relevant Dutch laws and reached settlements with the relevant authorities totalling US$795 million. It committed to a series of measures to boost integrity within the company, including strengthening its internal controls and compliance programme.
Similarly, Telenor on Friday pledged to learn from the case.
"We have already implemented actions to strengthen governance procedures and the awareness of what our ethical guidelines demand of our leaders," said Telenor chairman Gunn Wærsted. "Now we will thoroughly study the report and consider if the initiatives are sufficient," he added.
These initiatives include changes to board committees, better training for directors and staff, and closer monitoring of subsidiaries. Telenor has also set up a hotline to enable notifications of breaches of its code of conduct to be shared with an external party.
Whistleblower
The Deloitte report brought further details of Telenor's involvement in the Vimpelcom case to light.
It emerged that as long ago as 2011 a Telenor employee working at Vimpelcom raised concerns over potential corruption to Telenor executives, but those concerns were not passed on to former CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas until March 2014 and subsequently to the board later that year.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries was informed in October 2015, costing then chairman Svein Aaser his job. The Norwegian government owns 54% of Telenor.
"We acknowledge that on this occasion we were unsuccessful in handling an important concern according to Telenor's ethical standards," said current CEO Sigve Brekke. "It is however good to see that a Telenor employee noticed unacceptable practices and spoke up about them."
Vimpelcom is not the only area of concern for Telenor. The telco notes that it "operates in markets where issues that raise ethical concerns will occur...[and] handles ethical issues on an ongoing basis." It admitted that it has uncovered two other areas of possible misconduct within the group.
The first involves suspicion of financial crimes, which has been reported to the local police Telenor said. It declined to give further details, having been asked by local authorities not to comment at this point.
Meanwhile, in Thailand its DTAC business is under investigation for having deviated from guidelines with regard to site leasing agreements. The review of that situation will be finalised by the end of the year, Telenor said.
With Deloitte having now completed its report, Telenor can focus on the sale of its 33% stake in Vimpelcom.
Press reports earlier this month suggested it is making progress on that front, and has made contact with a number of potential buyers.
Source: Total Telecom






Norwegian operator shares details of Deloitte report into its handling of Vimpelcom case; discloses possible ethics violations in other markets.

Telenor announced that two top executives have resigned their positions on receipt of Deloitte's final report into its handling of the Vimpelcom corruption case.
The Norwegian incumbent was quick to point out that the report does not show any evidence that Telenor employees were involved in "corrupt actions or any other legal offences," but admitted it does uncover "internal weaknesses" at the company.
As a result, chief financial officer Richard Olav Aa and general counsel Pål Wien Espen have resigned their positions, Telenor said. Both have been on temporary suspension since November, pending the outcome of the Deloitte probe.

Two other employees, Fridtjof Rusten and Ole Bjørn Sjulstad, who formerly served on the Vimpelcom supervisory board, were suspended at the same time, but will now return to their former roles with Telenor.
Telenor hired Deloitte to review its handling of its Vimpelcom stake almost six months ago, as the ongoing Dutch and U.S. investigations into the Russian operator and its activities in Uzbekistan intensified.
Earlier this year, Vimpelcom admitted certain violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and relevant Dutch laws and reached settlements with the relevant authorities totalling US$795 million. It committed to a series of measures to boost integrity within the company, including strengthening its internal controls and compliance programme.

Similarly, Telenor on Friday pledged to learn from the case.
"We have already implemented actions to strengthen governance procedures and the awareness of what our ethical guidelines demand of our leaders," said Telenor chairman Gunn Wærsted. "Now we will thoroughly study the report and consider if the initiatives are sufficient," he added.

These initiatives include changes to board committees, better training for directors and staff, and closer monitoring of subsidiaries. Telenor has also set up a hotline to enable notifications of breaches of its code of conduct to be shared with an external party.

Whistleblower
The Deloitte report brought further details of Telenor's involvement in the Vimpelcom case to light.
It emerged that as long ago as 2011 a Telenor employee working at Vimpelcom raised concerns over potential corruption to Telenor executives, but those concerns were not passed on to former CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas until March 2014 and subsequently to the board later that year.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries was informed in October 2015, costing then chairman Svein Aaser his job. The Norwegian government owns 54% of Telenor.
"We acknowledge that on this occasion we were unsuccessful in handling an important concern according to Telenor's ethical standards," said current CEO Sigve Brekke. "It is however good to see that a Telenor employee noticed unacceptable practices and spoke up about them."

Vimpelcom is not the only area of concern for Telenor. The telco notes that it "operates in markets where issues that raise ethical concerns will occur...[and] handles ethical issues on an ongoing basis." It admitted that it has uncovered two other areas of possible misconduct within the group.

The first involves suspicion of financial crimes, which has been reported to the local police Telenor said. It declined to give further details, having been asked by local authorities not to comment at this point.

Meanwhile, in Thailand its DTAC business is under investigation for having deviated from guidelines with regard to site leasing agreements. The review of that situation will be finalised by the end of the year, Telenor said.
With Deloitte having now completed its report, Telenor can focus on the sale of its 33% stake in Vimpelcom.
Press reports earlier this month suggested it is making progress on that front, and has made contact with a number of potential buyers.

Source: Total Telecom