Moscow Welcomes Uzbek Ruling on MTS Assets

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow welcomed a decision by a court in Tashkent on Friday, reversing a September ruling ordering the seizure of assets belonging to the Uzbekistan subsidiary of Russia’s largest mobile phone operator MTS, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

“The Russian court views positively the Tashkent court’s decision to return the company’s property and hopes for a mutually acceptable settlement of the remaining issues,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

MTS announced in September a Tashkent court had ordered the confiscation of the assets of its Uzbek subsidiary Uzdunrobita, following a judgment against four Uzdunrobita employees.

The Uzbekistan Communications and Information Technology Agency suspended Uzdunrobita’s license on July 17, initially for 10 working days, for what it said were “repeated and systematic gross violations, and also for failure to comply with the regulator’s directions.”

A week later, the Tashkent Commercial Court extended the license suspension for a further three months, citing Uzdunrobita’s failure to comply with the regulator’s directions.

In late June, the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case against several Uzdunrobita staff, accusing them of numerous legal violations and widespread use of illegal tax evasion schemes.

MTS told Prime news agency in August the company believed the Uzbekistan prosecutors’ actions were intended to strip the Russian mobile firm of its business in the Central Asian state.

The case has threatened to hinder attempts by Uzbekistan to attract foreign investment to the impoverished former Soviet republic.


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