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Eurobites: Ericsson shareholders sue over alleged Iraq cover-upEurobites: Ericsson shareholders sue over alleged Iraq cover-up

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Renesas agrees to acquire Sequans; Drahi to face Altice corruption questions; Zain KSA hits the heights in H1.

Paul Rainford

August 7, 2023

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Ericsson shareholders sue over alleged Iraq cover-up
(Source: Ericsson)

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Renesas agrees to acquire Sequans; Drahi to face Altice corruption questions; Zain KSA hits the heights in H1.

  • A 37-strong group of Ericsson shareholders is suing the company for an expected $175-$300 million in damages for losses linked to what the shareholders say was Ericsson's decision to "decision to withhold information about an internal investigation into its business practices in Iraq." An internal investigation in 2022 found that payments were channeled to unknown parties in Iraq, with Ericsson staff using "alternate transport routes" to evade local officials at a time when Islamic State, a terrorist organization, controlled some of Iraq's roads. According to the plaintiff shareholders, the admission of the internal report's existence came more than two years after it had been completed – a direct contravention, in their eyes, of Market Abuse Regulations stipulating that an issuer of shares must inform the public as soon as possible of inside information that directly concerns that issuer. (See Ericsson Iraq scandal is major embarrassment for CEO.)

  • Japanese chip company Renesas has announced its plan to acquire French rival Sequans in a transaction that values Sequans at approximately $249 million. The deal is expected to close by the first quarter of calendar year 2024. Back in February, the Sequans board said it had formed a special committee to "explore strategic options" in the face of turbulence in the IoT market, which is a key area for Sequans.

  • Patrick Drahi, the co-founder of Altice, is expected to publicly face questions into alleged corruption at Altice's Portuguese operation for the first time today. As Bloomberg reports (paywall applies), Drahi will join a quarterly results call for investors of Altice International, the unit that includes Altice Portugal. Last month, Armando Pereira, the other co-founder of Altice, was placed under house arrest as part of the police investigation into the affair. (See Altice USA halts some spending, taps new procurement chief amid probe in Europe.)

  • Saudi operator Zain KSA achieved its highest half-year profit ever during the first half of 2023, hitting 687 million Saudi riyals ($183 million), a 221% increase year-over-year. Zain says that the increase was driven by, amongst other things, the expansion of its 5G services and the growth of its fintech business, Tamam. Half-year revenue reached SAR4.8 billion ($1.28 billion), a 10% increase on the year-ago period.

  • A group of UK lawmakers has warned that connected devices such as smart speakers and baby monitors are being routinely used in domestic "coercive control" situations, the BBC reports. During its investigation, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee said it heard evidence that the vast majority of domestic abuse cases now feature a digital element, including the use of so-called spyware.

— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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