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Europe's Telia finds it hard to say goodbye to Asia

Uzbek corruption case which sparked retreat also complicates asset sales

Despite the sale of its controlling interest in Tajikistan's Tcell in April, Telia is still left to dispose of stakes in five other Asian and Caucasus nations. (Photo by Sitora Gharibshoeva )

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Stung by a corruption scandal over its investment in Uzbekistan, Scandinavian telecommunications company Telia declared in September 2015 that it would make a quick exit from the remainder of its once far-flung investments in Asia and the Caucasus to focus its attentions on northern Europe.

Pulling out is proving harder than expected. In April, Telia sold off its 60% stake in Tajikistan's Tcell and last year it offloaded a majority stake in Nepal's Ncell; the two mobile operators were the largest in their markets. Even before the Uzbek scandal broke, Telia had gotten out of Cambodia.

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