South African police arrested a former ambassador to Iran on corruption charges related to the award of a mobile phone licence to MTN Group after it was initially given to Turkcell.
The case has been the subject of legal claims for several years by the Turkish company, which accuses Johannesburg-based MTN of paying bribes to South African and Iranian officials to secure 49% of Irancell. MTN has always denied the claims.
Yusuf Saloojee, 75, was seized by the Hawks, the South African anti-corruption police unit, over allegations he facilitated the cancellation of the Turkcell licence by the Iranian government, which enabled it to then be awarded to MTN. Saloojee is accused of earning R1.4-million for his role in the process, which was then used to buy a house in Pretoria, according to a statement by the Hawks.
MTN shares reversed gains and traded 0.8% lower to R85.25 as of 3.43pm in Johannesburg, valuing the company at R161-billion. The company couldn’t immediately comment on the arrest. — Reported by John Bowker and Loni Prinsloo, with assistance from Renee Bonorchis, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP