AP News

TeliaSonera denies charges of Uzbekistan bribery

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Nordic telecommunications company TeliaSonera says two of its employees deny allegations of bribery and money laundering while launching operations in Uzbekistan several years ago despite fresh evidence from Swedish prosecutors.

In 2007, TeliaSonera signed a commercial deal with an Uzbek firm, Takilant, to obtain a 3G operator's license in the Central Asian country. Last year, reports surfaced in Swedish media that the firm had ties to Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbekistan's authoritarian president, and that a large bribe was paid to obtain the license.

TeliaSonera denied the allegations in a statement Tuesday, saying it still has no reason to believe Karimova was connected with the Uzbek firm.

The company has some 9 million subscribers in Uzbekistan, a country routinely slammed for severe human rights abuses.

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