WASHINGTON, March 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The South African mobile phone company MTN today strongly condemned Turkcell's attempt to use the threat of a U.S. legal claim to extort money from MTN. The company also strongly criticised Turkcell's refusal to cooperate with the independent investigation that MTN has set up, headed by the eminent British supreme court judge, Lord Hoffmann.
Turkcell had threatened MTN with litigation in the United States alleging claims of corruption in relation to MTN's bid to participate in the second mobile phone network in Iran. In 2005, a consortium that included MTN was awarded the licence. MTN have appointed Lord Hoffmann to lead an independent investigation of the allegations. Although MTN believes there is no legal merit to Turkcell's claims and no basis for a U.S. court to consider them, it had nonetheless sought to obtain Turkcell's cooperation with the independent investigation.
Talks between MTN and Turkcell have broken down as a result of Turkcell's extortionate demands for damages and their threat to start a frivolous lawsuit in the U.S. MTN is committed to resolving the issue through Lord Hoffmann's inquiry.
"Turkcell's threat to abuse the U.S. legal system to pressure MTN will not succeed," said an MTN spokesman. "MTN wants Turkcell's cooperation with the independent investigation."
Turkcell's accusations involve conduct alleged to have taken place in South Africa and Iran, and have no connection to the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court is widely expected to restrict such claims in a case that was argued last week.
Lord Hoffmann, who was born in South Africa, is widely regarded as the pre-eminent legal figure in the United Kingdom over the last 20 years. He has a strong reputation for independence. Over a long career, he has proven his willingness to challenge the actions of governments of all political persuasions.
MTN is a leading mobile telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It works in some of the poorest countries in the world where widening use of mobile telephones has been a major force in economic and political liberation. MTN remains committed to its operations in Iran and elsewhere on behalf of all its customers. South Africa has not imposed any economic sanctions against Iran. Working with international legal advisors, MTN has maintained its policy of operating at all times within the various international sanctions regimes which apply to Iran.
Issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs
About the MTN Group
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: "MTN." As of December 2011, MTN recorded 164.5 million subscribers across its operations. Visit us at www.mtn.com.
For more information, please contact:
Xolisa Vapi on +27 83 200 4363 or email: [email protected]
SOURCE MTN Group