VimpelCom Ltd to Pay $795Million Penalty in Bribery Case
VimpelCom Ltd to Pay $795Million Penalty in Bribery Case

VimpelCom Ltd., the sixth biggest telecommunications company in the world is being fined $795 million to resolve claims that it paid bribes of $114 million to a high ranking government official in Uzbekistan.

On Thursday, authorities said, the company paid bribes to an Uzbek government official closely related to a high-ranking official who influenced the regulators of the Uzbek telecommunications industry.

Allegedly, Amsterdam based VimpelCom Ltd. and one of its subsidiary, Unitel LLC, paid bribes through different executives and employees in order to gain telecommunications business in Uzbekistan.

On Thursday, Unitel LLC, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court through its lawyer of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. On the other hand, VimpelCom also admitted of having participated in the conspiracy along with the subsidiary.

Statements released from U. S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell, VimpelCom developed its business in Uzbekistan starting from 2006 till 2012 paying greater than $114 million as bribes to one of the government officials.

Preet Bharara said, "Those payments, falsely recorded in the company's books and records, were then laundered through bank accounts and assets around the world, including through accounts in New York."

Along with the penalties, the U. S. Justice Department is also seeking to forfeit $550 million in Swiss bank accounts stating it also represents the earnings generated through bribes.

The chief executive of VimpelCom said in a statement that the company genuinely regrets the "unacceptable" misconduct.