Feds: VimpelCom to pay $795M in US bribery case

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The federal government says one of the world’s biggest telecommunications companies will pay $795 million in penalties to resolve claims it paid over $114 million in bribes to a government official in Uzbekistan.

Authorities in New York and Washington announced the deal Thursday with VimpelCom Limited, the world’s sixth-largest telecommunications company.

Representatives of Unitel LLC, a subsidiary of the Amsterdam-based VimpelCom, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Meanwhile, VimpelCom admitted participating in the conspiracy with its subsidiary as it entered into a deferred prosecution agreement.

The U.S. Justice Department is also seeking $550 million in Swiss bank accounts to be forfeited, saying the money represents the proceeds of bribes.

In a release, VimpelCom’s chief executive said the company deeply regrets the “unacceptable” wrongdoing.