Loading...
See More

MTN corruption case not over - Turkcell

May 05 2013 18:27 Dewald van Rensburg, City Press

Company Data

MTN GROUP LIMITED [JSE:MTN]

Last traded 0
Change -2,32
% Change 0
Cumulative volume 5005713
Market cap 412.81bn

Last Updated: 26-11-2014 at 04:25. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

Related Articles

Regulator aims to limit MTN's dominance

MTN Nigeria to sign $3bn bank loan

MTN hails US court ruling over Iran

MTN reports record subscribers

MTN eyes $8bn in acquisitions

MTN profit falls short of expectations

 
Johannesburg - Turkcell, the mobile operator that has levelled corruption allegations against MTN Group [JSE:MTN], has “temporarily” dropped its $4.35bn (R39bn) damages case in the US.

Although the Turkish operator is now officially shopping for a new jurisdiction, MTN has already responded gleefully, saying the case “is now behind us” and dismissing the threat of it being resurrected.

Turkcell announced that it has “voluntarily dismissed the matter, based only upon jurisdiction, without prejudice to the merits of the case and to refile the case in another jurisdiction”.

A recent ruling in the US Supreme Court has done serious damage to US courts’ accessibility as forums for international legal disputes – closing a chapter in global legal history and destroying a major weapon in the international human rights arena.

Turkcell’s spokesperson wouldn’t comment on the availability of any other jurisdiction the company could use.

It alleges that MTN bribed both Iranian and South African officials to secure Iran’s first private cellular licence in 2005 – or at least to ensure it was booted off the list of bidders.

The star witness in the Turkcell case is former MTN executive Chris Kilowan, who made shocking allegations about the bribing of diplomatic personnel and the peddling of influence.

A major theme of the allegations is that MTN got South Africa to adopt pro-Iranian stances on Iran’s nuclear programme and supply the internationally isolated country with military equipment.

SA’s ambassador to Iran at the time, Yusuf Saloojee, was allegedly given $200 000 while an Iranian official got $400 000, and the other shareholders in Irancell got “sham loans”, which in effect were also bribes.

MTN set up a committee to investigate the allegations under the direction of Lord Leonard Hoffmann, a well-known international jurist.

In February, the committee reported that Kilowan’s allegations were a “fabric of lies, distortions and inventions”, although these allegations will now probably never get tested in a court.

There is also one conspicuous loose end: Saloojee was suspended from his more recent post as ambassador to Oman after the allegations surfaced, but late last year he was “temporarily” redeployed to that nation while the department of international relations conducts its own investigation.

It is unclear what is to become of him and the investigation, and the department did not respond to questions last week.

MTN now owns 49% of Irancell, an operation that has become its third-largest after South Africa and Nigeria, with 41?million subscribers and about R12.2bn in revenue last year.

Turkcell’s gigantic damage claim is based roughly on MTN’s revenues from Iran up to 2011.

The reason the case needs to find a new venue is the groundbreaking judgment in the so-called Kiobel case in the US this year.

Like the Turkcell case, the Kiobel case exploited the Alien Tort Statute – a 220-year-old piece of US legislation that allows foreign matters involving US companies to be heard in the US.

It has been the basis for the large-scale export of the US class action industry to include especially human rights cases involving multinational companies linked to the US, however tenuously.

MTN, for instance, has a stock exchange listing in the US.

The statute was also invoked in the ill-fated apartheid reparations case from South Africa a decade ago.

The Kiobel case involved claims against oil giant Royal Dutch Shell related to its alleged aiding of the Nigerian military in the torture and persecution of activists in the Niger Delta in the 1990s.

The US Supreme Court has now held that extraterritoriality should be limited to cases where there is actually strong involvement by US entities.

- Dewald van Rensburg, City Press


Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

mtn  |  turkcell
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:

Small Business

Retailers of any shape and size can now unlock the power of mobile transacting.
 
 

Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!

Nicole is the cover girl for the 2014 edition of SA Swimsuit! Check out some smoking hot pics of here here.

 
 

Men24.com

11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!
Thirty and still single? There’s hope!

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...