Telenor of Norway won a legal victory in a protracted dispute with Alfa—Telenor’s venture partner in Ukrainian mobile phone firm Kyivstar—as a New York district court held subsidiaries of Alfa in contempt of a November 2007 order that required the subsidiaries to divest their holdings in two rival Ukrainian cell phone firms. Respectively, Telenor and companies comprising the Alfa Group own stakes of 56.5% and 43.5% in Kyivstar, the largest wireless operator in the Ukraine. A shareholder and management dispute that erupted between Telenor and Alfa three years ago escalated when the Alfa companies purchased stakes in two competitors of Kyivstar without Telenor’s consent. Charging that the purchase violates shareholder agreements, Telenor sought redress before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which in November 2007 approved an arbitration settlement that required the Alfa subsidiaries to divest their holdings in the rival cell phone operators and to refrain from interfering with management decisions at Kyivstar. Concluding that none of the Alfa subsidiaries have complied with the November 2007 settlement, the court last Thursday ordered the companies to sell their shares in Kyvistar or reduce their holdings in the rival cell phone operators to below five percent. The Alfa companies also face daily monetary penalties of $100,000 that would go into effect on November 29 and that would double every 30 days if they refuse to comply with the court’s directives. Rejecting Alfa’s contention that its efforts to implement the November 2007 order were blocked by the Supreme Court of the Ukraine, the District Court characterized Alfa’s argument as “nothing more than [an] . . . excuse for [Alfa and its subsidiaries] to refuse to do what they have all along refused to do.”