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MTN slams $4.2B Turkcell lawsuit over Iranian licence

MTN slams $4.2B Turkcell lawsuit over Iranian licence

MTN Group has hit out at a “baseless” $4.2 billion lawsuit launched against it by Turkcell in 2013.

Turkcell has accused the South African group of bribery and corruption during its attempt between 2004 and 2005 to procure a licence that would allow it to operate in Iran. Turkcell claims that it was awarded an Iranian licence via international tender but was unable to access it due to illicit actions taken by MTN.

In 2005, the South African group was issued with Iran’s first GSM licence, and the market is now one of the operator’s largest – it is the second largest player in the country with around 49 million connections. Turkcell has previously attempted to sue MTN in over the matter in 2012, but the US-based court ruled that it was unable to judge the suit.

Four years of persistence from Turkcell have resulted in the case being heard at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, with the Turkish operator arguing that it has a “strong claim” for “compensation of damages resulting from unlawful acts of MTN during the tender process for Iran’s first private GSM licence.”

MTN meanwhile has dismissed the claims as “without merit” and has deemed Turkcell’s case as an “abuse of the process of court”. It has denied all charges and has asked its defence to request that the case be thrown out.

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