We are on Episode IV of a five-part exploration of the recent the Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission resolution of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against the Russian telecom company, Mobile TeleSystems PJSC (MTS). In this episode, I look at the individual indictments, which charged Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the former President of Uzbekistan, with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and Bekhzod Akhmedov, a former MTS executive based in Uzbekistan with FCPA violations of one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, two counts of violating the FCPA, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The indictment discussed the three companies who paid bribes to Karimova, who then laundered the money on the international stage. They were VimpelCom Ltd. (now VEON Ltd.), Telia Company AB (formerly TeliaSonera AB) (Telia) and MTS. The schemes Karimova used were so similar as to be almost identical. The only thing that changed was the name of the company she was shaking down money from in her march towards receiving over $1 billion in ill-gotten payments.
The documents which are the subject of this series are:
- MTS Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA);
- MTS Criminal Information (MTS Information);
- SEC Cease and Desist Order (Order);
- Karimova and Akhmedov Indictment (Indictment);
- Kolorit Dizayn Ink LLC Plea Agreement (Plea Agreement); and
- Kolorit Dizayn Ink Information (Kolorit Information);
- DOJ Press Release and
- SEC Press Release.