After 10 years, MTN says its $4.2 billion battle with Turkcell is over

 ·1 Dec 2022

The High Court of South Africa has dismissed a $4.2 billion lawsuit against local telco group MTN – 10 years after Turkish operator Turkcell launched proceedings.

The High Court dismissed the suit on Wednesday (30 November) with costs.

Legal proceedings were initiated against MTN in November 2013 after Turkcell and its wholly-owned subsidiary, East Asian Consortium (EAC), accused the local company of impropriety related to Iran’s first private network operator licence.

At the time, Turkcell and EAC sought $4.2 billion (R43 billion in 2013) in damages from MTN, alleging that it was the victim of corruption and bribery that caused it to lose a network operator contract in Iran.

Turkcell accused MTN of “corrupt acts” – including promises of bribes and the giving of gifts to Iranian and South African government officials – to secure the license.

Turkcell initially pursued the case against MTN in the United States in 2012 but dropped it in May 2013 after a US Supreme Court ruling in a separate case made it clear that US courts would not have jurisdiction in a claim involving two foreign firms in an overseas dispute.

In November 2020, Turkcell withdrew as a plaintiff in the matter, leaving EAC as the sole plaintiff in the action against MTN in South Africa.

“In a judgment handed down by the High Court of South Africa on 30 November 2022, EAC’s action against MTN has been dismissed with costs, putting an end to the Turkcell Litigation,” MTN said.

“MTN is delighted at the outcome as it has consistently maintained that the Turkcell Litigation was without merit. MTN had no provisions or contingent liabilities with regard to the Turkcell Litigation.”

Read: MTN reports solid performance in South Africa – despite unprecedented levels of load shedding

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter