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VimpelCom delays filing of Annual Report to SEC due to Uzbekistan probe

May 01, 2014, 19:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, May 01. /ITAR-TASS/. The telecom company VimpelCom has notified the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has been unable to file its Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2013 before the filing deadline.

As the reason, the company said it had not finalised its assessment of the effectiveness of its internal controls over financial reporting due in part to issues arising out of the investigations by the SEC, the United States Department of Justice and the Dutch public prosecutor’s office, and internal investigations.

When the company completes that assessment, its auditor, Ernst and Young Accountants LLP, will complete its review of the company’s assessment and complete its related audit procedures, it said in a statement released on Thursday, May 1.

In the middle of March 2014, the SEC and the Dutch public prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation into the company’s activities. VimpelCom said back then that no concrete claims had been put forth but its documents had been seized. It said complaints were related to its operations in Uzbekistan.

A similar investigation was started by the Uzbek authorities in late October 2013. It continued for two and a half months but revealed no violations.

It was reported last autumn that Unitel (Uzbek subsidiary of VimpelCom) had encountered problems when getting permits for commissioning base stations and acquiring numbering capacity. VimpelCom bought Unitel in 2006 for 260 million U.S. dollars from Bakri Uzbekistan Telecom.

VimpelCom is one of the world’s largest integrated telecommunications services operators providing voice and data services through a range of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Canada. VimpelCom’s operations around the globe cover territory with a total population of approximately 753 million people. VimpelCom provides services under the “Beeline”, “Kyivstar”, “djuice”, “WIND”, “Infostrada”, “Mobilink”, “Leo”, “banglalink”, “Telecel”, and “Djezzy” brands. As of December 31, 2013 VimpelCom had 220 million mobile subscribers on a combined basis. VimpelCom is traded on the NASDAQ Global Stock Market under the symbol (VIP).

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