US law firm to investigate Naspers

US law firm Pomerantz LLP announced it is investigating whether Naspers and its officers and directors engaged in securities fraud or unlawful business practices.

Pomerantz is investigating claims related to potential improper payments to ANN7 on behalf of Naspers.

The claims follow reports that MultiChoice paid kickbacks to the SABC and ANN7 to buy political influence on set-top box non-encryption.

MultiChoice’s decision to increase its ANN7 channel payment from R50 million to R141 million per year is at the centre of this.

It is also alleged that MultiChoice paid kickbacks to the SABC totalling R100 million per year.

MultiChoice denied the allegations, while its parent Naspers said there was a “persistent baiting of Naspers to intervene in the affairs of MultiChoice”.

Former Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said MultiChoice used its agreement with the SABC to change government policy on conditional access and further its commercial interests.

“The only entity which benefitted from ensuring that [encryption] was dropped is MultiChoice,” said Carrim.

Read: Naspers says it won’t be ‘baited’ into forcing Multichoice to take ANN7 off the air

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US law firm to investigate Naspers