Monthly Archives: June 2006

Headhunters, tarbabies and beekeepers

You read it here first.
After the company formerly known as MicroLink and quickly switched to Lattelecom Technology bit its own head off (or rather, the head at the time bit itself off :) ), Lattelecom was forced to bring in a headhunter to go out into the Latvian IT jungle and find – well, a suitable head.
The head has been found and was carried back from the local encampment of a pretty large beast found south of the Polar regions. The head has already been displayed to the Lattelecom Technology tribe and will be put on public display next week, when it will speak.
The head has some very useful knowledge of banking-related IT, something that will help Lattelecom technology expand its offerings in this area (together, perhaps, with Lattelecom BPO).
Also look for Lattelecom to perhaps drop its “tarbaby” deal for the Latvian e-signature (together with the Latvian Post Office), which subjects all of its business to the often cumbersome public procurement process. This is too much of a business risk and the company is looking for an exit before it has to issue a tender and go through three appeals to buy Nils Melngailis (the CEO) a new pen.
Finally, looking to the longer term, the idea of Lattelecom acquiring its own mobile operator is still very much alive in the airy regions where little birds whisper to bloggers. The beekeepers should be on the alert, especially if they decide to part with some of their outlying hives.
And, apropos nothing as the Swedes would say (apropos ingenting), Bite Latvija signed up its 100 000th customer, a lady from (WTF is…) Aizkraukle. She got 100 000 free minutes on her Bite account. So she can spend almost 70 uninteruppted 24 hour days telling the world WTF Aizkraukle is …

latviantelecoms.blogspot.com

Export of Corporate War Technology

 

An extremely interesting phrase for the innocent bystander, but extremely painful if you are on the receiving end. Unfortunately for Teliasonera, they are feeling the pain of another blast from its’ Russian partner, Alfa Group. This time it is in Turkey and Alfa have led a boardroom coup leading to the exit of the Teliasonera favoured CEO with one much more friendly to the Russians. Teliasonera seems to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Turkey with the Russians now effectively controlling the boardroom.

This is extremely worrying for the Swedes and the fights going on in Russia and Turkey will almost certainly spread to the rest of the Eurasian assets in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova.
I’m not sure what the end game is going to be for Mikhail Fridman with his battles with Teliasonera, Telenor, the Russian Communications Minister and probably many others. However, I’m sure that the problem in Turkey gives an opportunity for Vodafone with its’ newest acquisition, Telsim, to make inroads in its’ current poor market share.
Even before the Russians entered the fray, the Turkish Cellular Market has an interesting history: Telsim itself was founded by the Uzan brothers, who Nokia and Motorola chased across the courtrooms of the globe filling many a lawyers pockets in the process. In the end, the Uzan empire crumbled and was grabbed by the state. Nokia and Motorola agreed to an auction of the assets and deep-pocketed Vodafone stepped in.

During the time Telsim was paralysed, Turkcell grabbed huge market share and in the process the Karamehmet family behind the financing became Turkish business heroes. Unfortunately, the Karamehmet empire also collapsed and the family teetered with bankruptcy avoiding the disaster that befell the Uzan’s. Teliasonera thought they had a brilliant (and cheap) deal to gain full control of Turkcell since they owned pre-emptive rights until Fridman dreamt up an even more brilliant scheme and brought Vladimir Putin along to seal the deal.

During all this time, the founder of Turkcell, Murat Vargi, has been hanging around with his 7% and probably now sit in the position of deal maker and breaker.

Who will get to eat the Turkish Delight in the end? Time will only tell, but it has the making of another great chapter in the history of European Cellular Markets.

telebusillis.blogspot.com

Telecom operator Tele2 granted the right to intervene in the Swedish Competition Authority’s action against TeliaSonera regarding abuse of dominant position

In December 2004 the Swedish Competition Authority brought an action in the Stockholm City Court against TeliaSonera AB for alleged abuse of dominant position in the Swedish broadband ADSL market. The SCA requested that the court impose an administrative fine on the company to the amount of SEK 144 million (circa €15.6 million). The SCA claimed TeliaSonera AB, the incumbent telecom operator, was subjecting competing operators in the market for ADSL services to a price squeeze.

Swedish based international telecom operator Tele2 was one of the companies whose complaints launched the SCA’s investigation. Tele2 opened a private enforcement action against TeliaSonera on 1st April 2005, demanding compensation for damages for an amount of approx SEK 2.3 billion (€250 million). Tele2 requested a stay in those proceedings pending the outcome of the SCA’s case against TeliaSonera.

The Stockholm City Court in June 2006 granted Tele2 the right to intervene in the SCA’s case against TeliaSonera. Intervention was granted on the basis of the evidentiary value the ruling will have in the separate case against TeliaSonera.

Intervention in proceedings based on the Competition Act is rare. Only 6 interventions have taken place since the inception of the SCA in 1993 to 2004. A probable cause for the low number is the fact that an intervening party is only allowed compensation for costs in certain types of cases, even when successful.

Source: City Court of Stockholm, case nr T 31862-04, 28 June 2006. (Swedish only).

www.twobirds.com

NOTE ON RELATIONS BETWEEN NICARAGUA AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

The programme to monitor the agreement concluded with the IMF characterises the Government’s macroeconomic policy, entailing the adoption of measures with a high social cost derived from the need for public expenditure cuts, to increase the country’s reserves and the need to sell some of the public companies, such as the Empresa Nicaragüense de Electricidad, and the State’s holding of shares (40%) in the Empresa Nicaragüense de Telecomunicaciones, which was sold in August 2001 to a Swiss-Honduran consortium (Telia Swedtel and ECME), a controversial sale which was the subject of legal proceedings brought by Managua city council. The World Bank is currently advising on the reactivation of the privatisation process.

www.europarl.europa.eu

TeliaSonera: Prosecutor Charges CEO Igel With Bribery

STOCKHOLM -(Dow Jones)- Swedish telecommunications operator TeliaSonera’s chairman, Tom von Weymarn, said he remains confident in Chief Executive Anders Igel despite bribery charges being brought against him.

TeliaSonera said Sweden’s chief prosecutor, Christer van der Kwast, Wednesday decided to prosecute both Igel and Marie Ehrling, head of the operator’s Swedish operations, for alleged bribery in relation to a planned customer event in 2005.

Igel and Ehrling in a joint statement said the customer event was intended to strengthen TeliaSonera’s brand and customer relations.

Included in the planned event was a free dinner and a musical show for around 200 TeliaSonera customers – offers which the prosecutor considers to be bribery.

The customer event was canceled after the invitations became the subject of a police investigation in June last year.

“Customer events of this nature are common in the market and with that background I’m surprised the prosecutor didn’t close down the preliminary investigation,” said von Weymarn in a statement.

-By Magnus Hansson, Dow Jones Newswires; +46 8 545 130 91; magnus.hansson@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

Bribery scandal swirls around top brass at TeliaSonera

Bribery scandal swirls around top brass at TeliaSonera. The inducement? Tickets to see the Abba musical, Mamma Mia.

File this under the heading ‘crap bribery’.

Not sure why I am dignifying this baloney by writing about it, but TeliaSonera (the joint Finish-Swedish telco) is in deep doo-doo (or should that be ‘I doo, I doo, I doo, I doo, I doo-doo’?). Two of its most senior officials are accused of bribery.

The bribe? A ticket to see ‘Mamma Mia’ in Stockholm. Not much of a bribe, methinks. Indeed, it’s reminiscent of the old gag: first prize, one ticket to see Mamma Mia; second prize, two tickets to see Mamma Mia.

Yet Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Christer van der Kvast, has indicted both TeliaSonera’s President and CEO, Anders Igel and the President of TeliaSonera Sweden, Marie Ehrling, for bribery in connection with an invitation to a customer gathering which was due to culminate in some nice seats at the Abba musical.

The Chairman of TeliaSonera, Tom von Weymarn, has said:

“Customer events of the nature described in this action are a normal occurrence in any market and with this in mind I am amazed that the Director of Public Prosecutions has not decided to terminate his preliminary investigation. The Board and I have full confidence in Anders Igel and Marie Ehrling.”

Yesterday, Igel and Ehrling made the following joint statement:

“It is surprising that the Director of Public Prosecutions has decided to go for an indictment in relation to the activity in question, an event which never even took place. Customer events of the type we had planned, where the attendees are also informed about the latest products and services, are a normal occurrence in Swedish business life. The objective is to strengthen the brand and further customer relations. This was the purpose for the invitation to the Mamma Mia performance.”

Encore: “We consider that we acted in accordance with established practice. It is unfortunate that in this area the law is so unclear that an indictment is necessary against private individuals to create some clarity in where the boundaries lie. We believe that it is a good idea to legally judge this issue so that we and other members of the Swedish business community know what is acceptable or not when applied to customer events. This is important not only for businesses in general but also for all those companies who work within the events industry, for example within sports, culture, hotel and restaurant trade.”

One Swedish source talking exclusively to TelecomRedux said: “this is world-class Swedish practice.The bureaucrats in Sweden are very efficient.”

It transpires that the DPP was tipped off by a former Chief of Police who was invited to the event. At various levels, that begs the question ‘why?’. Meanwhile Sweden’s version of the Sarbannes-Oxley Act on corporate governance rules out corporate hospitality worth more than SKr300 (€32.37). In Sweden, that gets you a Big Mac and fries. Here I go again…

Jim Chalmers
TelecomRedux

Bribery Charges Against TeliaSonera’s CEO

A prosecutor has filed bribery charges against TeliaSonera’s chief executive as well as the head of the group’s Swedish operations.

The bribery charge is based on some 200 dinner invitations addressed to corporate and government leaders inviting them to attend the hit ABBA musical Mamma Mia and a product demonstration.

A national police chief who received such an invitation, reported the company to the police. The event was later cancelled after the prosecutor launched a bribery investigation.

The CEO of the telecom operator and the Swedish head deny any wrongdoing, saying they had followed normal business procedures.

www.sr.se

Teisės ekspertai: pareigūnai neteisėtai priima “Lietuvos telekomo” finansinę paramą savo pramogoms

Bribery scandal swirls around top brass at TeliaSonera

Bribery scandal swirls around top brass at TeliaSonera. The inducement? Tickets to see the Abba musical, Mamma Mia. File this under the heading ‘crap bribery’.  

Not sure why I am dignifying this baloney by writing about it, but TeliaSonera (the joint Finish-Swedish telco) is in deep doo-doo (or should that be ‘I doo, I doo, I doo, I doo, I doo-doo’?). Two of its most senior officials are accused of bribery.

The bribe? A ticket to see ‘Mamma Mia’ in Stockholm. Not much of a bribe, methinks. Indeed, it’s reminiscent of the old gag: first prize, one ticket to see Mamma Mia; second prize, two tickets to see Mamma Mia.

Yet Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Christer van der Kvast, has indicted both TeliaSonera’s President and CEO, Anders Igel and the President of TeliaSonera Sweden, Marie Ehrling, for bribery in connection with an invitation to a customer gathering which was due to culminate in some nice seats at the Abba musical.

The Chairman of TeliaSonera, Tom von Weymarn, has said:
“Customer events of the nature described in this action are a normal occurrence in any market and with this in mind I am amazed that the Director of Public Prosecutions has not decided to terminate his preliminary investigation. The Board and I have full confidence in Anders Igel and Marie Ehrling.”

Yesterday, Igel and Ehrling made the following joint statement:
“It is surprising that the Director of Public Prosecutions has decided to go for an indictment in relation to the activity in question, an event which never even took place. Customer events of the type we had planned, where the attendees are also informed about the latest products and services, are a normal occurrence in Swedish business life. The objective is to strengthen the brand and further customer relations. This was the purpose for the invitation to the Mamma Mia performance.”

Encore: “We consider that we acted in accordance with established practice. It is unfortunate that in this area the law is so unclear that an indictment is necessary against private individuals to create some clarity in where the boundaries lie. We believe that it is a good idea to legally judge this issue so that we and other members of the Swedish business community know what is acceptable or not when applied to customer events. This is important not only for businesses in general but also for all those companies who work within the events industry, for example within sports, culture, hotel and restaurant trade.”

One Swedish source talking exclusively to TelecomRedux said: “this is world-class Swedish practice.The bureaucrats in Sweden are very efficient.”

It transpires that the DPP was tipped off by a former Chief of Police who was invited to the event. At various levels, that begs the question ‘why?’. Meanwhile Sweden’s version of the Sarbannes-Oxley Act on corporate governance rules out corporate hospitality worth more than SKr300 (€32.37). In Sweden, that gets you a Big Mac and fries. Here I go again…

www.telecomredux.com

Teisės ekspertai: pareigūnai neteisėtai priima “Lietuvos telekomo” finansinę paramą savo pramogoms

 

Abba invitation

The chief executive of TeliaSonera, the Swedish telecoms company, is to be charged with bribery after inviting clients to see the musical Mamma Mia, which features the music of Abba, the 1970s Swedish pop group.

Anders Igel will be charged alongside Marie Ehrling, the head of the company’s operations in Sweden, after prosecutors decided that listening to Abba songs would have constituted “an unwarrantable reward for the recipients in the official discharge of their duties”.

The clients had been invited to a product demonstration in conjunction with a performance of the musical.

However, the event was cancelled after it emerged prosecutors had initiated an investigation.

The charges highlight the growing sensitivity surrounding corporate entertainment – an issue that has snared some high profile and unexpected victims in the past for allegedly breaching ethical standards.

One of the most significant was Ernst Welteke, who resigned in 2004 as the president of Germany’s Bundesbank after it emerged hehad let a commercial bank pay a hotel bill.

Fears that executives might unwittingly suffer the same fate also contributed to a decision by Fifa, football’s governing body, to cancel more than 1m room nights it had reserved in hotels for this summer’s World Cup.

The decision was attributed, in part, to an unwillingness by executives to accept corporate hospitality tickets in case they were accused of accepting inappropriate gifts.

TeliaSonera responded with surprise to news of the charges yesterday.

Tom von Weymarn, chairman, said: “Customer events of [this kind] are a normal occurrence in any market and. I am amazed the Director of Public Prosecutions has not decided to terminate his preliminary investigation.

ft.com

TeliaSonera head charged with bribery

The chief executive of Nordic operator TeliaSonera is to be indicted for bribery after inviting customers to see the musical “Mamma Mia” at the Circus theatre in Stockholm in the spring of last year.

Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Christer van der Kvast , will charge Anders Igel alongside the president of TeliaSonera Sweden, Marie Ehrling, for bribery in connection with an invitation to a customer gathering.

TeliaSonera said that clients had been invited to a product demonstration in conjunction with the trip to the musical. But the event was cancelled when the investigation into alleged bribery began.

Chairman of TeliaSonera, Tom von Weymarn, said: “Customer events of the nature described in this action are a normal occurrence in any market and with this in mind I am amazed that the Director of Public Prosecutions has not decided to terminate his preliminary investigation.”

Igel added that he was also surprised the public prosecutor maintained the investigation into an event which never even took place.

“It is unfortunate that in this area the law is so unclear that an indictment is necessary against private individuals to create some clarity in where the boundaries lie. We believe that it is a good idea to legally judge this issue so that we and other members of the Swedish business community know what is acceptable or not when applied to customer events. This is important not only for businesses in general but also for all those companies who work within the events industry, for example within sports, culture, hotel and restaurant trade,” Igel said.

www.telecoms.com

Teis