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Telenor suspends four execs over Vimpelcom

Telenor on Wednesday suspended its finance director, legal head, and two other executives, as part of its deepening internal investigation into possible complicity with alleged corruption at VimpelCom, the Russian telecoms group.

Telenor suspends four execs over Vimpelcom
Telenor finance director Richard Olav Aa alongside chief executive Sigve Brekke at Telenor's latest results. Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix
Telenor finance director Richard Olav Aa, General Cousel Pål Wien Espen, Fridtjof Rusten, the finance director of its Thai subsidiary, and Ole Bjorn Sjulstad, the head of Telenor Russia. 
 
Telenor chief executive Sigve Brekke stressed that neither Telenor, nor Deloitte, which has been hired to carry out the internal investigation, had any evidence that the four were aware of or involved in corruption at Vimpelcom. 
 
“We have no reason to believe that these have been involved in the alleged corruption in VimpelCom. They are trusted managers with a solid track record in Telenor,” he said. 
 
“This is being done in order that they are not able to question the independent investigation being conducted by Deloitte.” 
 
However, according to Cato Schiøtz, a lawyer for former VImpelcom chief executive Jo Lunder, the four executives had all been sent two e-mails in 30 September and 4 October 2011, in which an anonymous whistleblower expressed concerns over payments in connection with that Vimpelcom's licenses in Uzbekistan. 
 
“A Telenor employee in emails on 30 September and 4 October notified Telenor about concerns related to the payment Vimpelcom had carried out,” Shiøtz told VG .”In the emails, the employee said that he had alerted Jo Lunder but that the transaction had gone through anyway after Lunder had conducted surveys.” 
 
Rusten and Sjulstad have both previously served as Telenor nominees on Vimpelcom’s board, while Olav Aa and Pål Wien Espen have had key legal roles within the parent company. 
 
Telenor owns a 33 percent stake in the Russian operator, which is being investigated by US and Dutch authorities for allegedly paying bribes in order to gain access to the Uzbek telecoms market. 

SAMI

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Found out what’s going on in Norway on Tuesday with the Local’s short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
The northern lights in Tromsø. Photo by Lightscape on Unsplash

One in ten international students in Norway has had Covid-19

Ten percent of overseas students studying in Norway, compared to just 2.9 percent of Norwegian students, have had Covid-19, according to the Students Health and Well Being Survey (SHoT).

Some 62,000 thousand of Norway’s 300,000 students responded to the survey.

READ MORE: Are Norway’s Covid-19 numbers on track for reopening?

Overall, nearly three percent said that they been infected with the Coronavirus, just over half have had to self isolate, and 70 percent took tests.

Woman in her 40’s charged with murder

A woman has been charged with murder in Halden, southeast Norway after a body was found in an apartment in the towns centre.

She will be questioned on Tuesday. A public defender has been appointed. 

Six police cars attended the scene at a small housing association in the centre of Halden.

A person found in the same apartment is being questioned as a witness.

Network provider Telenor’s revenues down 2.1 billion kroner compared to last year

Telenor’s revenues are down 2.1 billion in the first quarter and the company has written of its 6.5 billion kroner investment in Myanmar following Februarys military coup.

The mobile network operator became one of the first foreign providers in the country and had gained a 35 percent market share.

However, the country’s new military regime shut down the mobile network on March 15th.

“In Myanmar, we are experiencing a confusing and uncertain situation. We are deeply concerned about the development in the country,” The company stated in its quarterly report.

Norway and Sweden in reindeer border dispute

Swedish Sami reindeer herders will appear in court this week in a case against the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

The Swedish Sami herders believe they have exclusive rights to grazing areas across the Norwegian border because they have lived in the surrounding area for hundreds of years. The Norwegian government rejects these claims.

The reindeer grazing convention will be central to the case; the convention facilitates mutual cross-border grazing for reindeer herds.

Sweden withdrew from the convention in 2005. However, Norway enshrined the convention in law in 2005.

483 Coronavirus infections recorded

On Monday, 483 new cases of Covid-29 were registered, an increase of 75 compared to the average of the previous week.

READ ALSO: Norway considers lifting measures for people who have had their first Covid vaccine 

This is down from 1150 cases registered during the peak of Norway’s third wave on March 16th.

This is partly because fewer infections are registered during weekends and public holidays, causing an uptick on Mondays.

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