Anti-corruption unit grills Telenor on Uzbek deal

Telenor, Norway’s majority state-owned phone company, has been pulled into the corruption case surrounding Russian phone company Vimpelcom in Uzbekistan, with Norwegian investigators visiting its offices this week.

Anti-corruption unit grills Telenor on Uzbek deal
Marianne Djupestad, the Økokrim prosecutor coordinating with Telenor on the case. Photo: Økokrim
Norway’s white-collar crime unit Økokrim this week served Telenor with a warrant demanding information surrounding its investment in Vimpelcom,  at the same time as the Amsterdam offices of Vimpelcom itself were raided by Dutch police. 
"I can confirm that Økokrim is assisting The Netherlands and Switzerland in an investigation which is ongoing in these jurisdictions," Økokrim prosecutor Marianne Djupesland told The Local. "Telenor is not a suspect in these investigations." 
She said that the agency had served Telenor with a "production order" asking for relevant information, probably pertaining to the company's controversial investment in Uzbekistan. 
Telenor spokesman Glen Mandelid stressed that Telenor was only a minority shareholder in Vimpelcom, but said that he nonetheless believed that “all transactions were checked out against American anti-corruption guidelines.”

Vimpelcom is 56.2% owned by Fridman's Altimo investment vehicle, and 33% owned by Telenor, with the rest controlled by minority shareholders.
The company has close links to Telenor. Vimpelcom's chief executive Jo Lunder was previously chief operating officer of Telenor Mobile and another former Telenor executive, Jan Edvard Thygesen, serves as VimpelCom’s deputy chief executive and chief operating officer.
Vimpelcom bought its Uzbekistan license from a Gibraltar-registered firm called Takilant, which has been linked to Gulnara Karimova, the Uzbek president's controversial daughter, who was described as a "robber baron" and "the single most hated person" in Uzbekistan in US diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks.  
Karimova's businesses have recently come under attack in Uzbekistan, while in Europe she has been the subject of multiple corruption probes. 

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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.