Turkey’s largest mobile operator, Turkcell, has again filed papers against MTN, this time in the high court in Johannesburg, seeking damages in relation to the awarding of a telecommunications licence in Iran.
Earlier this year, Turkcell, which claims that MTN’s “unlawful actions” cost it the Iranian licence, withdrew legal action it had taken in the US courts. It appeared that was going to be the end of the matter.
“Turkcell was awarded Iran’s first private GSM licence in 2004, but was unlawfully prevented from receiving the licence,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Iran entered into a licence agreement with MTN. Information received by Turkcell indicates that our company’s exclusion, and the signing of the licence agreement with MTN, was a consequence of MTN’s illegal acts, including bribery and corruption, in 2004 and 2005.”
In the statement, Turkcell said it acted promptly when it was “made aware of the situation in late 2011” by filing legal action in the US courts.
“A change in the jurisdiction laws of the US resulted in Turkcell’s withdrawal of its lawsuit without prejudice at that time, and the company maintains its position regarding the merit of the case. The filing of the lawsuit in South Africa is in continuation of the legal process that was initiated in US courts.”
Turkcell has alleged previously that MTN conspired with and bribed Iranian officials to win the Iran licence that, it claimed, had originally been promised to it.
Although MTN professed its innocence throughout proceedings, it launched an independent, year-long investigation into the allegations. The Hoffmann Committee, led by retired British judge Lord Leonard Hoffmann, cleared MTN of wrongdoing and labelled Turkcell’s accusations a “fabric of lies, distortions and inventions”.
MTN said on Wednesday that it can’t comment as it has not received or viewed the court papers. “Although we don’t have details of the case, MTN continues to believe that there is no legal merit to Turkcell’s claim and will accordingly oppose it.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media