President launches financial investigation into Megacom

18 Mar 2011

According to a report by RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, the interim president of Kyrgyzstan, Roza Otunbaeva, has created a group to investigate alleged corruption at the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, BiMoCom (Megacom). The investigative team, which is made up of experts from the State Committee for National Security, Interior Ministry and the State Financial Police Service, has been tasked with looking into the affairs of the telecoms company. The report states that former Megacom managers Andrei Silich and Aleksandr Borozdin fled Kyrgyzstan before a criminal investigation was opened against them in January 2011 over embezzlement allegations. The pair represented Russian-owned company Eventis Telecom, which controls a 51% stake in Megacom. Earlier this week Silich, who has reportedly been reinstated in his role at the mobile operator, told journalists that the criminal case against him had been dropped. However, the Kyrgyz government’s appointed supervisor of Megacom, Azamat Murzaliev, told news agency that Silich ‘has regained the control over the company by force.’ According to the results of a preliminary government investigation, Eventis Telecom is alleged to have taken some USD27 million from Megacom since April 2010.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that BiMoCom was owned by Eventis Telecom until October 2009 when the company was taken over by Alfa Telecom, a local company affiliated with Maksim Bakiyev, the son of then-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, sparking a legal battle over the cellco’s ownership. However, following the ousting of President Bakiyev in April 2010 the interim government took a 49% stake in Megacom and Eventis Telecom assumed the remaining 51%.

Kyrgyzstan, MegaCom (Kyrgyzstan)