– The Norwegian authorities stopped the investigation and closed the criminal case against the former head of the telecommunications holding Vimpelcom (now – VEON) Jo Lunder, writes Bloomberg.
As they say in the Agency message, the Norwegian national Directorate of investigation and suppression of economic and environmental crime (Økokrim), the investigation was dismissed for lack of evidence.
Law enforcement agencies of Norway and other countries has investigated corrupt deals of Vimpelcom in Uzbekistan, in connection with last fall Lunder was arrested at the airport in the Norwegian capital after arriving on a flight from London. He was then released by the court, but the Norwegian police decided to continue the investigation in cooperation with law enforcement agencies of other countries.
The US government and the Netherlands (Amsterdam is home to the headquarters of Vimpelcom) March 2014 investigated the Vimpelcom transaction with Takilant Ltd., which is associated with the daughter ex-the President of Uzbekistan Gulnara Karimova. Vimpelcom last year disclosed information about transactions with Takilant in the annual report on form 20-F, stating that in 2007, Takilant sold 7% of its Uzbek business for $20 million, and in 2009 bought back for $57.5 million in addition, Vimpelcom paid Takilant $57 million for frequency 3G and LTE, as well as communication channels.
In January 2015 the Norwegian holding Telenor, which owns 43% of voting shares in Vimpelcom, published an anonymous report received by the Ministry of trade, industry and fisheries of Norway, which indicated that Vimpelcom paid G. Karimova from 2006 to 2012 and turned her considerably more than previously reported – $219.5 million
Lunder resigned as head of Vimpelcom in March 2015, and until July was the Advisor to the company. He headed the telecommunications holding company on 1 July 2011, 5 years after the release of the Russian “VimpelCom” on the mobile market of Uzbekistan. Earlier, from April 2001 to October 2003, he headed the Russian “VimpelCom”. After retiring from the post of head of the Russian company Lunder was part of its Board of Directors (until 2005 as Chairman), and later in the Supervisory Board established in 2010, Vimpelcom Ltd.
Further Lunder was removed from all his posts in the Norwegian Fredriksen Group, which manages assets billionaire John Fredriksen, also resigned from the Board of Directors North Atlantic Drilling, a subsidiary of Seadrill.