Sweden charges ex-telecom execs in Uzbek corruption scandal

Three former executives with Swedish telecoms company Telia were charged on Friday with corruption involving contracts in Uzbekistan, Sweden's prosecution authority said.

The defendants include Lars Nyberg, who was CEO of the company then known as TeliaSonera for six years, according to Sweden's TT news agency. He resigned in 2013 following an internal investigation into a deal made with a company run by the Uzbek president's daughter.

Another defendant is Tero Kivisaari who was the company's business head for Eurasia. The third defendant was not immediately identified. Nyberg and Kivisaari deny wrongdoing. The maximum sentence is six years.

Telia and its subsidiary in Uzbekistan, Coscom LLC, have admitted to making illegal payments of 2.6 billion kronor ($325 million) to Uzbek government officials to win business contracts in the country.

On Thursday, Stockholm-based Telia said it had reached a global settlement and would pay $965 million in fines to settle the Uzbek corruption case. U.S. and Dutch authorities had concluded Telia's conduct was in violation of national laws.

Telia said Friday that Swedish prosecutors have also decided to initiate legal proceedings against Telia for a disgorgement. "This amount is already included in (Thursday's) global settlement that Telia Company has reached with U.S. and Dutch authorities, as previously disclosed."

Telia said it "will continue to consider all possibilities to protect the rights and interests of the company."

The company said it has "a good and constructive cooperation" with Swedish prosecutors and police, adding "we are very confident in the prosecutors and their work."

Telia said that Thursday's settlement "brings an end to all known corruption related investigations or inquiries into Telia Company."