Telenor to appeal $1.7bn damages award

Telenor plans to appeal a decision of the Omsk Appeal Arbitration Court in Russia, which satisfied the claim of the British Virgin Islands-based company Farimex Products, and said that the Norwegian telecoms operator should pay approximately $1.7bn in damages to Farimex. The court also ruled against Farimex’s attempts to seize Telenor’s Vimpelcom shares.

The BVI corporation had alleged that Telenor’s nominees on Russian mobile operator VimpelCom’s Board delayed VimpelCom’s acquisition of Ukrainian mobile operator Ukrainian Radio Systems, and prevented Vimpelcom from purchasing Ukrainian mobile group Kyivstar. About a year ago, Farimex filed a $3.8bn lawsuit in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District court, which in its turn ruled that Telenor should pay damages of approximately $2.8bn.

Jan Edvard Thygesen, executive vice president and head of Telenor’s central and eastern European operations, said that the decision of the court was ‘a serious violation of Telenor’s lawful rights and interests as a strategic investor in Russia.’ By his words, Telenor will continue to defend its investment in VimpelCom using all legal means available: ‘Since 1998, Telenor has acted in the interests of VimpelCom, and we have repeatedly pointed out that this suit is an illegal attempt to steal Telenor’s investment in Russia.’

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