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VimpelCom to pay $795 million in settlement for FCPA violations

Staff writer |
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a global settlement along with the U.S. Department of Justice and Dutch regulators with VimpelCom.

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VimpelCom will pay more than $795 million to resolve its violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to win business in Uzbekistan.

The SEC alleges that VimpelCom offered and paid bribes to an Uzbek government official related to the President of Uzbekistan as the company entered the Uzbek telecommunications market and sought government-issued licenses, frequencies, channels, and number blocks.

At least $114 million in bribe payments were funneled through an entity affiliated with the Uzbek official, and approximately a half-million dollars in bribes were disguised as charitable donations made to charities directly affiliated with the Uzbek official.

“VimpelCom made massive revenues in Uzbekistan by paying over $100 million to an official with significant influence over top leaders of the Uzbek government,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC Enforcement Division.

“These old-fashioned bribes, hidden through sham contracts and charitable contributions, left the company’s books and records riddled with inaccuracies.”

The settlement requires VimpelCom to pay $167.5 million to the SEC, $230.1 million to the U.S. Department of Justice, and $397.5 million to Dutch regulators.

The company must retain an independent corporate monitor for at least three years.

“International cooperation among regulators is critical to holding companies responsible for all facets of a bribery scheme.

“This closely coordinated settlement is a product of the extraordinary efforts of the SEC, Department of Justice, and law enforcement partners around the globe to jointly pursue those who break the law to win business,” said Kara N. Brockmeyer, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit.

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