Turkish telecom company Turkcell is said to be now looking at South African courts to advance its fight against MTN Group over the Iranian second mobile phone network operating license.
MTN Group released a statement today saying “While summons has not yet been formally served on it, MTN understands that Turkcell has now issued summons out of the South Gauteng High Court of South Africa against MTN, MTNI and others seeking damages of approximately US$4.2 billion plus interest…”
This revives a matter which appeared to have ended early this year when Turkcell withdrew legal action against MTN in the US. The matter, premised on allegations MTN beat Turkcell to the Iranian licence by employing irregular tactics, was red last year.
Then, MTN established an independent enquiry into the matter led by UK retired judge Lord Hoffmann. The Hoffmann committee cleared MTN early this year.
Meanwhile Turkcell was pursuing the matter in the US court and withdrew the action in May this year.
MTN said yesterday it understands that the re-emergence of the matter in South Africa “arises from substantially the same allegations on which the US Proceedings were founded.”
MTN added that “Turkcell’s allegations were investigated by a special committee, the Hoffmann Committee…”
“After a thorough examination of Turkcell’s allegations and consideration of the available evidence, the Hoffmann Committee concluded that the allegations were unfounded.”
As stated before, MTN will accordingly continue to vigorously defend any proceedings instituted by Turkcell in respect of such matters.”
While the number which is said to be claimed by Tirkcell is huge, $4.2 billion which translates to more than R40bn, the market seems to be looking past the matter. MTN Group shares were showing a 0.06% or 11c gain to trade at R197.09 around 10am on the JSE.