Dispute over MTS subsidiary may be referred to international courts
MOSCOW, September 18 - RAPSI. AFK Sistema which runs Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) is planning to refer to international courts in connection with Uzdunrobita, MTS' Uzbekistan subsidiary, Mikhail Shamolin, president of the corporation, said in an interview with the Russia 24 TV channel.
He said that the company's foreign investors are growing increasingly discontent and support the plans to sue Uzbekistan.
"MTS also does not rule out the possibility of referring to international courts. MTS reserves the rights to use every legal course, first of all on the international level, to recover losses incurred following the illegal actions committed by Uzbekistan's top officials against Uzdunrobita, MTS's subsidiary in Uzbekistan," MTS press-secretary Valeria Kuzmenko told PRIME Business News Agency.
Uzdunrobita's last tax audit in February 2012 revealed no significant violations by the company. However, a tax debt exceeding $900 million was charged to the company by the tax authorities.
In late June, the Prosecutor General's Office of the republic initiated a criminal case against a group of Uzdunrobita officials, and several employees were arrested. On Monday, four employees of the company accused of financial machinations were sentenced to three years in prison.
In August the Tashkent Commercial Court upheld a lawsuit filed by the Uzbekistan Communications and Information Technology Agency annulling Uzdunrobita's license to operate. The agency claimed that offices of Uzdunrobita's branches were operating illegally. Additionally, the claims of the agency against the company amounted to $210 million.
The Uzbek antimonopoly authorities have also filed claims against Uzdunrobita that could cost the company as much as $80 million.
On Monday, the Tashkent City Court ruled that Uzdunrobita's assets be transferred in favor of the government.
MTS Group wrote off $1.08 million in losses, which resulted from the cessation of activity of Uzbekistan's subsidiary, in Q2, 2012.
MTS has stated on numerous occasions that the claims brought against the company are illegal.