Turkcell says it is pleased with the continued progress in its litigation against the MTN Group and its former executives in South Africa, alleging corruption and interference with an Iranian tender in 2004 and 2005.
Earlier, MTN filed a plea in the South African High Court to have the middle eastern mobile group’s case against it thrown out of court.
Turkcell has been at MTN’s throat for over a decade, after the South African network beat it to acquire a 49% stake in Iranian network, Irancell, in 2005.
The operator has alleged that MTN secured the contract through bribery and corruption, and has previously attempted four other legal battles to get money out of MTN for the loss of business.
Now in its fifth attempt, Turkcell is seeking $4.2 billion (R58.9 billion) from MTN, calculated from the profits and interest Turkcell said it would have made had it operated the Irancell licence.
On Tuesday, Turkcell said in a statement that after years of attempting to delay the case, MTN and certain of the defendants had finally filed pleas responding to the allegations of Turkcell’s particulars.
“While the MTN pleas assert a variety of expected and meritless technical legal defenses, Turkcell is confident that they will be rejected by the court, and that the case can now be scheduled for trial in the coming months. Remarkably, MTN finally admits to many of the allegations asserted by Turkcell that form the basis of its claims.”
“Today’s events are a positive step forward in our case,” said Turkcell’s executive vice president – legal and regulation Serhat Demir, “and MTN’s admissions are confirmation of
our claims. We look forward to bringing the facts and the testimony before the Court at trial to prove our case in full.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, MTN said that Turkcell’s allegations and court bids were nothing more than a harassment campaign, in an attempt to oppress MTN.
It said that Turkcell was being opportunistic, and was “the author of its own misfortune” in losing the Irancell bid.
“When it became clear that Turkcell was unwilling or unable to comply with the new legislative requirement that its shareholding in the licence be not greater than 49%, the Iranian authorities offered the opportunity to MTN, which it accepted.
“Turkcell obviously regretted their decision and has ever since engaged in four different sets of legal proceedings, all of which have been lost,” it said. “We consider that it is most unjust to burden MTN with a fifth round of litigation of substantially the same matters.”