AMSTERDAM, March 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- "VimpelCom Ltd" ("VimpelCom", "Company" or "Group") (NYSE: VIP), a leading global provider of telecommunications services, announces that earlier today an Algerian Court of first instance handed down a judgment against Orascom Telecom Algerie ("OTA") and a member of OTA's senior executive team. The judgment relates to a previously disclosed claim brought in 2010 by the Algerian authorities alleging breaches of foreign exchange regulations. The judgment consists of fines of 99 billion Algerian Dinar (approximately USD 1.3 billion) and a criminal sentence against a member of OTA's senior executive team.
OTA is taking the necessary steps to file an appeal. The lodging of the appeal will provisionally suspend the judgment. VimpelCom maintains that OTA and OTA's senior executive have acted in good faith and in compliance with the law. The management in Algeria continues to have VimpelCom's full support.
VimpelCom is considering all of its options and possible further steps as well as the impact of this judgment in the court of first instance on its negotiations with the Algerian government for the sale of a majority interest in OTA.
OTA is 96.8% owned by Orascom Telecom Holdings SAE, which, in turn, is 51.9% owned by VimpelCom.On January 9, 2012, VimpelCom and the Ministry of Finance of the Algerian Democratic Peoples Republic announced that they have entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to explore the possible sale to the Algerian State by OTH of an interest in OTA. For further information about OTA and the claim, please see VimpelCom's Annual Report filed on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2010. Disclaimer This press release contains "forward-looking statements", as the phrase is defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. These statements include those relating to the negotiations and litigation relating to OTA. These forward-looking statements are based on management's best assessment of the Company's legal position in the litigation and the current status of the negotiations. The actual outcome may differ materially from these statements and there can be no assurance that OTA will successfully appeal the today's judgment or that the sale of a stake in OTA will be consummated. Certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in any forward-looking statements include the risk factors described in the Company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2010 and other public filings made by the Company with the SEC, which risk factors are incorporated herein by reference. The Company disclaims any obligation to update developments of these risk factors or to announce publicly any revision to any of the forward-looking statements contained in this release, or to make corrections to reflect future events or developments. About VimpelCom VimpelCom is one of the world's largest integrated telecommunications services operators offering a wide range of wireless, fixed, and broadband services in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Italy and Canada. VimpelCom's operations around the globe cover territory with a total population of approximately 864 million people. VimpelCom provides services under the "Beeline", "Kyivstar", "djuice", "Wind", "Infostrada" "Mobilink", "Leo", "banglalink", "Telecel", and "Djezzy" brands. As of December 31, 2011 VimpelCom had 205 million mobile subscribers on a combined basis. VimpelCom is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (VIP). For more information visit: http://www.vimpelcom.com . SOURCE VimpelCom Ltd.