Reuters International

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch court has ordered the confiscation of 123 million euros (103 million pounds) in assets from a Dutch-based company that prosecutors alleged was used by two telecoms companies to bribe Gulnara Karimova, the elder daughter of Uzbekistan's president, to secure local operating licences.

The Amsterdam court said in a ruling it had found that the company, Takilant, had received bribes from Vimpelcom and Telia AB to allow their Uzbek subsidiaries, Unitel and Ucell, to operate in the local mobile market.

The two judges also ruled that Takilant should pay a fine of 1.58 million euros and ordered the confiscation of its 6 percent stake in Ucell, the Uzbek subsidiary of Telia AB.

Earlier this month prosecutors said they had targeted Takilant, not Karimova personally, because she was outside the court's jurisdiction.

The Swiss, Swedish and U.S. authorities had already named Karimova as a suspect in their related bribery investigations in 2012. The Swiss and Swedish investigations are continuing, as is a Dutch investigation into Telia, which changed its name from TeliSonera earlier this year, after announcing plans to eventually sell its various Eurasian businesses, including Ucell.

The whereabouts of Karimova, who until last year was her country's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, are not known. Also known to her countrymen as a jewellery designer and pop star, she has not spoken to the press for more than a year and could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

In February Vimpelcom agreed to pay $795 million to settle the U.S. and Dutch investigations into the bribery scheme.

Vimpelcom declined to comment on the Dutch court ruling against Takilant, while no one at Telia was immediately available for comment.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Greg Mahlich)


 Reuters International