MTN, TurkCell in talks over bribery lawsuit

TurkCell Iletisim Hizmetlera AS (TurkCell) has confirmed that talks with South African mobile operator MTN (MTN) are ongoing, with the former looking to bring a case against MTN and its subsidiary, Irancell, in a US court.

MTN, which owns 49% of Irancell – the group that was awarded the 2nd Iranian GSM licence – said last Thursday that it had been informed by TurkCell that it believes it has a claim against MTN and its relevant subsidiary,

This is arising out of the award of the second GSM Licence based on alleged violations of US laws, and TurkCell has indicated an intention to bring such a claim before a US court.

TurkCell claimed that MTN had asked South Africa to support Iran’s nuclear development in return for a license.

A spokesperson for TurkCell told BusinessTech: “As the discussions between our company and MTN have been continuing pertaining to the issues mentioned in the press announcements of MTN, we cannot make further comment on this issue. And we will not make any public announcement until the discussions are finalised.”

Turkcell would not comment on any of the legal action MTN referred to last week.

MTN said it would not comment further following its announcement made on Thursday (February 2, 2012). It said that, so far, no such claim had been filed in the courts or served on MTN.

TurkCell has been listed on the NYSE since July 2000, and is the only NYSE-listed company in Turkey.

The spokesperson alluded to a statement filed with Capital Markets Board (CMB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in TurkCell’s Q3 2011 IFRS report relating to the dispute with the Iranian GSM tender process.

“The company has initiated an arbitration case against Islamic Republic of Iran for not abiding by the provisions of the Agreement on Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments and demanded its sustained loss, on 11 January 2008 at the arbitration court which is established pursuant to the UNCITRAL arbitration rules. The arbitration process is still pending,” TurkCell said.

Through a 49% holding in Irancell, MTN boasts 33.314 million subscribers and a 44% market share.

Shares in MTN have declined steadily since Friday – however, in morning trade on Tuesday, the group added 25 cents to R132.20 on the JSE.

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MTN, TurkCell in talks over bribery lawsuit