Vimpelcom to appeal Djezzy fines

Russian telecoms group Vimpelcom will appeal against fines imposed on its Algerian subsidiary, Orascom Telecom Algeria (OTA).

OTA, under the brand name Djezzy, faces fines totaling USD1.3 billion for alleged breaches of foreign exchange regulations.

In a statement issued this week, Vimpelcom said an Algerian Court handed down a judgment against OTA and a member of OTA’s senior executive team over a previously disclosed claim brought in 2010 by the Algerian authorities, alleging breaches of foreign exchange regulations

It said: “OTA is taking the necessary steps to file an appeal.  The lodging of the appeal will provisionally suspend the judgment. VimpelCom maintains that OTA and OTA’s senior executive have acted in good faith and in compliance with the law. The management in Algeria continues to have VimpelCom’s full support.”

VimpelCom is considering all of its options and possible further steps as well as the impact of this judgment in the court of first instance on its negotiations with the Algerian government for the sale of a majority interest in OTA.

OTA is 96.8% owned by Orascom Telecom Holdings SAE, which, in turn, is 51.9% owned by VimpelCom.

On January 9, 2012, VimpelCom and the Ministry of Finance of the Algerian Democratic Peoples Republic announced that they have entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to explore the possible sale to the Algerian State by OTH of an interest in OTA.

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