The Norway-government owned Telenor has 33 percent stake in VimpelCom, a Russian telecom operator. Recently, Telenor expressed its desire to exit from VimpelCom by selling its minority stake.
Telenor has asked its CFO Richard Olav Aa, General Counsel Pal Wien Espen, Fridtjof Rusten and Ole Bjorn Sjulstad, former Telenor nominees to the VimpelCom Executive Committee, to go on leave.
The temporary activity is a result of external review by Deloitte of Telenor Group’s handling and oversight of its minority ownership in VimpelCom.
Rusten and Sjulstad express that they have contributed to handling concerns related to VimpelCom’s investment in Uzbekistan in a correct manner. All these four professionals will receive their salary and other benefits during the period of leave of absence.
Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke says the decision to take these four professional off duties is in line with the company’s plan to clear its role in VimpelCom’s investment in Uzbekistan.
Questions have however been raised about how Telenor handled concerns related to VimpelCom’s investment in Uzbekistan. Telenor is facing probe by several agencies including the Norwegian government. Telenor Chairman recently stepped down in the wake of the government probe.
Telenor has appointed executive vice president Morten Karlsen Sorby as acting CFO. Karlsen Sorby is currently part of the executive management team and has served in a number of executive positions in Telenor.