By John Daly in Germany @ Wednesday, March 04, 2009 4:39 PM
| ||Norwegian operator Telenor has appealed a Russian court decision which ordered Telenor to shell out $1,7 billion damages. Shady outfit Farimex Products bought 0.002% of shares in Vimpelcom, a Russian mobile operator and then filed a case against Telenor. |
Farimex claimed Telenor's members on Vimpelcom's board had damaged Vimpelcom by delaying the takeover of Ukrainian Radio Systems (URS). However, URS was making losses back then and still is. Vimpelcom has so far dumped $600 million on URS, yet to no avail. The decrepit operator still holds a market share of only 4%. Telenor opposed the acquisition as the buying price of $231.3 million for URS was far too high and intransparent. The owners were would have received the money were not even known.
'We have received the Court's written decision ordering us to pay $1,728,297,207 to VimpelCom,' said Thygesen. 'We have filed our appeal and will file whatever other documents are necessary to prevent Alfa Group or Farimex, using this illegal decision, from stealing our VimpelCom shares and undermining foreign investments in Russia,' said Telenor Vice President Jan Edvard Thygesen.
Alfa Group is another co-owner of Vimpelcom and has always been a source of discomfort for Telenor. Telenor dragged Alfa Group to court back in 2005 for allegedly cooking the books. Both parties have been battling each other - Alfa Group for total control of Vimpelcom, Telenor to defend its investments in a business environment being strangled by corruption.
'The Russian state has made a public commitment to the anti-corruption agenda. This case will be a litmus test for the world to see,' added Dimitry Afanasiev, Telenor's lawyer in Russia. X
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