Wednesday, July 25, 2012 -
Russia on Wednesday issued a statement expressing its concern over the detention of an MTS executive by Uzbek authorities.
The Uzbek government has revoked the Russian telephony firm’s license for operating in the Central Asian state for a total of 10 days, and has placed Radik Dautov, the head of the MTS subsidiary in Uzbekistan, in prison.
Dautov has been detained since July 17.
The Uzbek prosecutor-general is investigating the leaders of the subsidiary over fraud and tax claims. Uzbek authorities say the firm owes $1.3 million in back taxes.
The Russian foreign ministry deems the detention to be a “very harsh security measure.”
The statement warns that the situation must be resolved quickly or it will have a “negative impact” on investment between the two countries.
The revoking of the license has caused 9.5 million Uzbeks to go without phone or internet service. Uzbekistan has a population of 29.5 million.
MTS experienced a similar situation in Turkmenistan in December 2010. The Russian mobile services firm claims to have lost $160 million after the Turkmen government rescinded its license for no clear reason. MTS announced in May that it had negotiated a deal with the Turkmen leadership to return to the country’s market.