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Dutch company to pay USD 795 million to resolve bribery probes

February 2016

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Only one day after PTC announced at $28 million settlement with U.S. authorities in a bribery case involving China, Dutch telecom operator of Russian origin VimpelCom announced settlements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission , the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie) following investigations under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and relevant Dutch laws, pertaining to VimpelCom’s business in Uzbekistan, where it operated under the brand name of Beeline. VimpelCom is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

VimpelCom will pay fines and disgorgements to the SEC, DOJ and OM for a whopping amount of $795 million (USD) and had to agree to permanent oversight by an independent compliance monitor. The leadership team was rather thoroughly renewed in the process, including its CEO, CFO, the General Counsel, and the Group Chief Compliance Officer.

The situation is not identical to PTC’s as VimpelCom has Russian roots and is operating in Uzbekistan on what is one of its historical home turfs – it was not trying to penetrate an alien, foreign market; instead, it knew the rules of the local game most precisely. The issue of handling demands for bribes is discussed in an article in the March 2016 issue of Global Benefits Vision magazine.

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