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Foreign Ministry Hopes for Solution to MTS Uzbek Problem

The Russian Foreign Ministry is monitoring the situation of the MTS Uzbek subsidiary and hopes it will be resolved in line with world practices, ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

“We think it is still possible to find a balanced solution to this problem. It may be settled pursuant to Uzbek laws and world practices,” the ministry said.

On Monday, the Tashkent City Criminal Court passed a three-year suspended sentence on four employees of Uzdunrobita, a subsidiary of Russia’s MTS, accused of financial abuse. The court also ordered the impoundment of company assets, allegedly in compensation for damage.

“The situation with MTS’ subsidiary in Uzbekistan could have a negative impact on a number of specific areas of economic activity,” Lukashevich said. “The Russian public and business circles are seriously concerned about the process by which the assets of MTS’ subsidiary are being turned into revenue of the state, which is bound to affect the perception of the business and investment climate in Uzbekistan.”

He said the Foreign Ministry has been doing all it can to help resolve the situation ever since the problems at the MTS subsidiary began.

“We are grateful to the Uzbek side for the positive decision on the issue of freeing Russian citizen Radik Dautov, acting general director of Uzdunrobita,” Lukashevich said. “However, we regret that the Uzbek authorities’ issues with Uzdunrobita that arose in 2012 concerning financial activities were not resolved out of court, despite the efforts made by the company.” 

“On Sept. 17, the Tashkent court issued a resolution that was not in favor of the MTS subsidiary, which, as is known, does not recognize the claims of the Uzbek side,” the ministry spokesman said. “MTS has a strong reputation and many years of successful experience working both in Russia and the CIS, as well as outside it.

“This company, being a major Russian business and investor in Uzbekistan, effectively provided mobile communications services to about 9 million subscribers in Uzbekistan through its subsidiary, acquired in 2004.”

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