SA court dismisses Turkcell’s US$4.2bn claim against MTN
A long-standing legal battle between MTN and Turkish telecommunications group Turkcell has ended after the High Court of South Africa dismissed the litigation with costs.
Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S (Turkcell), and Turkcell's wholly owned subsidiary, East Asian Consortium B.V. (EAC) instituted legal action in the High Court of South Africa against MTN Group and certain of its subsidiaries in 2013.
In that action, Turkcell and EAC sought US$4,2-billion (excluding interest) in damages from MTN pursuant to allegations of impropriety in the award of the first private mobile telecommunications licence in Iran.
Turkcell filed the lawsuit in the US alleging that the MTN Group used bribery to win an Iranian mobile licence, which was first awarded to Turkcell.
At the time, MTN disputed the legal merit of Turkcell’s claim.
In 2017 MTN filed a plea or statement of defence to have the litigation thrown out of court. The company released a statement and said, “Turkcell's claim is opportunistic, an abuse of the process of court, baseless and without merit - we will not be bullied, harassed and oppressed in this matter and have every expectation that we will prevail".
During November 2020 Turkcell withdrew as a Plaintiff, leaving EAC as the sole Plaintiff in the action against MTN.
In a notice to shareholders on 30 November 2022, MTN confirmed the judgement and said it was delighted at the outcome “as it has consistently maintained that the Turkcell Litigation was without merit. MTN had no provisions or contingent liabilities with regards to the Turkcell Litigation.”