Telenor’s sales foreclosed by Putin / News / The Foreigner

Telenor’s sales foreclosed by Putin. A Wikileaks document made public by Aftenposten shows that Vladimir Putin allegedly promised PM Jens Stoltenberg not to sell Telenor’s VimpelCom shares, until all its appeals were exhausted. In the spring of 2009, Telenor was ordered to pay damages of 11 billion kroner during a trial in a Siberian court as a result of a lawsuit by Farimex Products Inc, a minute stakeholder in VimpelCom, because the Norwegian telecoms company tried to prevent VimpelCom investing in the Ukraine. Telenor refused to pay, claiming that the court’s decision was unreasonable. As a result, the Russians seized the company’s VimpelCom shares, whose value was approximately 12 billion kroner at the time.

telenor, vimpelcom, farimex, wikileaks, vladimirputin, jensstoltenberg, dmitrimedvedev, bensonwhitney, usembassyoslo, sergeilavrov, jonfrederikbaksaas, jonasgahrstoere



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Telenor’s sales foreclosed by Putin

Published on Wednesday, 12th January, 2011 at 09:58 under the news category, by Nicoleta Dumitrache Sincan.
Last Updated on 26th January 2011 at 21:56.

A Wikileaks document made public by Aftenposten shows that Vladimir Putin allegedly promised PM Jens Stoltenberg not to sell Telenor’s VimpelCom shares, until all its appeals were exhausted.

Telenor Fornebu (illustration photo)
Telenor Fornebu (illustration photo)
Photo: © 2007 Kjetil Ree/Wikimedia Commons


In the spring of 2009, Telenor was ordered to pay damages of 11 billion kroner during a trial in a Siberian court as a result of a lawsuit by Farimex Products Inc, a minute stakeholder in VimpelCom, because the Norwegian telecoms company tried to prevent VimpelCom investing in the Ukraine.

Telenor refused to pay, claiming that the court’s decision was unreasonable. As a result, the Russians seized the company’s VimpelCom shares, whose value was approximately 12 billion kroner at the time.

In May 2009, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg met his Russian colleagues, Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow, where the Norwegian PM took up the matter regarding Telenor’s case.

During a press conference after the summit, Prime Minister Putin denied having any interest in foreclosing Telenor’s VimpelCom shares.

“These are completely inappropriate and incorrect questions. Russian authorities have no commercial interests in this matter, we are completely neutral and independent here”, he said at the time.

However, the US embassy cable sent by ambassador to Oslo Benson K. Whitney on June 18, shows the opposite.

“PM Stoltenberg received promises from PM Putin that the Telenor shares would not be sold before all appeals processes were exhausted. How this case is resolved will be illustrative.”

After PM Stoltenberg and PM Putin’s meeting, Dag Melgaard, Telenor’s Communications Director, felt that the sales threat was very real, according to Aftenposten.

“We were afraid that the shares would be forcibly sold right up to April 2010, when Farimex withdrew the lawsuit”, said Melgaard.

What is more, another U.S. document reveals that Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre had to go through tough negotiations with Russian FM Sergei Lavrov concerning VimpelCom shares.

According to the US cable, Lavrov accused Telenor of preventing Russian investments in the Ukraine as well as in other Soviet states “in the interest of limiting Russian influence over these areas.”

Jon Frederik Baksaas, Telenor CEO, thinks that if were not for the Norwegian authorities’ constant political attention over several years, it would not have been possible to arouse the interest to end the Farimex matter and establish the new company VimpelCom Ltd, Aftenposten reports.

The Wikileaks document has been seen by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD), but is making no comment as to whether or not PM Vladimir Putin ever Prime Minister Stoltenberg any guarantee regarding Telenor.

“We do not want to comment on the U.S. embassy’s third-party reviews reffered to in the document”, said FM Støre’s spokesperson Martha Lerberg Kopstad

During a business seminar in Oslo, held in April 2010, the Industry Minister Trond Giske made a statement, suggesting the Russian authorities played an active role in solving the Telenor’s case, according to Aftenposten.



Published on Wednesday, 12th January, 2011 at 09:58 under the news category, by Nicoleta Dumitrache Sincan.
Last updated on 26th January 2011 at 21:56.

This post has the following tags: telenor, vimpelcom, farimex, wikileaks, vladimirputin, jensstoltenberg, dmitrimedvedev, bensonwhitney, usembassyoslo, sergeilavrov, jonfrederikbaksaas, jonasgahrstoere.





  
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