Firm slams $4.2 billion suit on MTN

Telecom firm, MTN, has landed in another trouble, even as it is still wriggling out of the N1.04 trillion fine slammed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to deactivate some 5.1 million unregistered subscribers.

This time a telecommunications firm, Turkcell, has slammed a $4.2 billion suit on the company over a disputed Iranian mobile phone licence.

Turkcell first sued MTN in a U.S. court in 2012, alleging the company used bribery and wrongful influence to win a lucrative Iranian licence that was originally awarded to it.

But it had to drop the suit in 2013 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a separate case made it clear that U.S. courts would not have jurisdiction in a claim involving two foreign firms in an overseas dispute.

However, in 2016, Turkcell filed another case in South Africa, where the case has been stuck in procedural wrangling since.

But MTN had claimed in a defence that Turkcell’s claim is opportunistic, an abuse of the process of court, baseless and without merit.

Recall that MTN obtained the licence in Iran in 2005 and maintains that Turkcell missed out because it did not comply with an Iranian rule that caps the shareholding in the licence at 49 per cent.

Iran is MTN’s third largest market out of the 22 countries the company operates in.

MTN previously appointed a retired British judge to lead an external investigation into Turkcell’s allegations. That probe dismissed the accusations as “a fabric of lies, distortions and inventions. Turkcell was not immediately available to comment.


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