August 31, 2012 / 11:13 AM / 7 years ago

Russian phone firm MTS faces seizure of Uzbekistan assets

MOSCOW, Aug 31 (Reuters) - MTS, Russia’s biggest mobile phone operator, said on Friday that the authorities in Uzbekistan had ordered the seizure of all the assets of its local subsidiary following a criminal investigation.

MTS, part of oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema , last week took a $1.1 billion write-off in connection with the withdrawal of its Uzbek operating licence following the arrest of four local managers on criminal charges.

MTS claims the campaign is an unwarranted attack on its business of the type that had forced out other foreign investors such as London-listed Oxus Gold.

In a statement on Friday MTS said that the Judicial Department of Tashkent had initiated enforcement proceedings to seize all of the assets of Uzdunrobita, its local subsidiary.

It added that Uzdunrobita had not been called in as a party to the process and therefore had been deprived of its legal right to represent the interests of its managers.

“The decision ... clearly testifies to the intentions of the Uzbek authorities to illegally expropriate MTS’s assets in the shortest possible timeframe,” the company said.

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