Russia's Altimo sues Telenor over Ukraine

Altimo, the telecoms arm of Russian private equity group Alfa, had filed a €639.5 million (US$1 billion) lawsuit against Norwegian operator Telenor because it delayed Vimpelcom's entry to Ukraine, a Reuters report said.

The lawsuit arose from Telenor allegedly breaching a shareholder agreement concerning Vimpelcom, Russia's second largest mobile operator.

The lawsuit was filed by Alfa's subsidiary Eco Telecom with an international arbitration tribunal in Geneva, according to the Reuters report: Alfa has been locked in a legal dispute with Telenor for years over the direction of Vimpelcom, in which Alfa holds 44% of voting stock to Telenor's 30%.

Telenor also owns 56.5% of Kyivstar, Ukraine's leading mobile phone company and Alfa has the remainder.

Altimo said Eco Telecom assessed losses to Vimpelcom shareholders to stand at €1.72 billion (US$2.7 billion) because of the actions taken by Telenor to prevent Vimpelcom's expansion into Ukraine - namely acquiring Ukrainian RadioSystems , a mobile operator competing with Telenor-controlled Kyivstar.

Alfa recently lost two arbitration proceedings brought by Telenor related to Vimpelcom and Kyivstar, the report concluded.