MTN escapes $4.6bn lawsuit for Iran

Mobile telecommunications giant MTN seems to have escaped a potentially devastating law suit around its Iranian operations with news that the aggrieved Turkcell has dropped its US based lawsuit.

The development appears to be driven by a legal technicality rather than a principled resolution. It comes after a ruling by the US Supreme Court last month restricting the ability of foreign corporations to bring before US courts cases alleging corporate misconduct that took place outside the United States.

As such it is not clear whether this is the end of the matter.

MTN said yesterday it welcomed Turkcell’s decision to drop the $4.2 billion lawsuit. The Turkish player, Turkcell, has alleged that MTN toppled its position in Iran through unethical means, including alleged bribery and political interventions that are potentially embarrassing for South Africa.

MTN has rejected Turkcell’s claim saying it lacked legal merit and that there was no basis for it to be brought before a US Court. MTN went as far as appointing an independent investigation led by English jurist Lord Hoffmann who subsequently cleared MTN.

MTN Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa said “Turkcell’s decision to drop their claim was expected, however we welcome it.”

“Now that this case is behind us, we are forging ahead with great determination towards achieving MTN’s newly launched vision to deliver a bold new digital world to our customers. MTN is one of Africa’s success stories, a great company founded on innovation, courage and values of honesty.

“Our products and services have fundamentally transformed people’s lives across our markets, and we are proud of MTN’s role in accelerating the economic development of the countries that we are active in across Africa and the Middle East,” said Mr Dabengwa.


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