By Russell Hotten
The Daily Telegraph
12 Nov 2008
Altimo, whose advisory board includes a former head of Britain's GCHQ
listening station and a former deputy chief executive of Vodafone, said
it has received evidence of wide-ranging attempts to discredit the
Altimo alleges the interception of emails and tapping of telephone
calls, surveillance of executives and shareholders, and payments to
journalists to write damaging articles.
The claims come in the wake of of Altimo's long-running dispute with
Oslo-based Telenor, the Nordic region's largest phone company. The two
companies are locked in a dispute over the expansion of a joint venture,
VimpelCom, Russia's second-largest mobile phone business. Altimo is part
of Alfa Group, run by Mr Fridman, one of four Russian businessmen
involved in a bitter dispute with oil giant BP earlier this year.
Yesterday, Andrei Kosogov, Altimo's chairman, wrote an open letter to
Telenor's chairman, Harald Norvik, asking him to explain what Telenor's
role has been and "what activity your agents have directed at Altimo".
He said that he was "reluctant to believe" that Mr Norvik or his
colleagues would have sanctioned any of the activities complained of.
Evidence of an alleged campaign was contained in documents sent to each
member of Altimo's advisory board some time before October. The board is
chaired by ex-GCHQ director Sir Francis Richards, and includes Lord
Hurd, a former UK Foreign Secretary, and Sir Julian Horn-Smith, a
founder of Vodafone.
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