Turkcell vs MTN: War of words heats up amid SA bribery court challenge

3 November 2017

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Johannesburg – MTN filed its plea (Statement of Defence) in the long-running litigation where Turkcell is claiming damages against MTN as a result of MTN having acquired a 49% interest in Irancell Communication Services Company (“Irancell”), which was awarded the second GSM License in Iran in November 2005.

MTN remains of the view that:

   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;

   Turkcell was the author of its own misfortune in failing to obtain the licence in Iran;

   When it became clear that Turkcell was unwilling or unable to comply with the new legislative requirement that its shareholding in the licence be not greater than 49%, the Iranian authorities offered the opportunity to MTN, which it accepted;

   Turkcell obviously regretted their decision and has ever since engaged in four different sets of legal proceedings, all of which have been lost;

   Turkcell’s implausible allegations rest heavily on a disgruntled former MTN employee who has been described as a fantasist and a conspiracy theorist and whose allegations have been dismissed by an independent investigation as being a fabric of lies, distortions and inventions.


When the allegations made by Turkcell were first raised, MTN appointed an Independent Special Committee under the Chairmanship of the eminent international jurist, Lord Leonard Hoffmann, to investigate the allegations. Lord Hoffmann embarked upon a thorough and exhaustive analysis of the investigations.


When furnishing his comprehensive Report into his findings, Lord Hoffmann made the point that his Committee had ‘received full cooperation from the company and had been given unrestricted access to all individuals, information, documents and facilities’ which his Committee requested. Read the full article on BizNews here.