Turkcell to appeal court decision on MTN

09 December 2022

Turkcell has announced that it intends to appeal the decision of the Johannesburg High Court to reject the complaint it filed in 2013 against MTN.

MTN was accused of irregularities in the process of acquiring Iran's first private telecoms license in 2005. The court considered that the local courts were not empowered to judge this case.

“We are of the view that in this trial, which has been going on for almost 10 years, South African law should be applied and that the South African courts should also have jurisdiction in the matter, since the headquarters of MTN is located in South Africa and that the wrongful acts were planned there,” said Turkcell in a statement.

The charges against MTN date back to 2004 when the Iranian authorities launched a tender for the award of the country's first private telecommunications license through the acquisition of 49% of the operator Irancell. MTN was ultimately chosen after tough competition with Turkcell, which has denounced acts of corruption, accusing MTN executives of having arranged meetings between Irancell officials and South African decision-makers, during which promises of arms and votes in favour of United Nations had been made to the Iranians in return for entering the Iranian market. The company was seeking financial compensation of $4.2 billion in damages.

Turkcell first tried to convict MTN in federal court in Washington in 2012, but the process was unsuccessful. It was then that the company, together with its subsidiary East Asian Consortium (EAC), launched proceedings against MTN in South Africa in November 2013. In November 2020, Turkcell withdrew as plaintiff from the case, leaving EAC as the sole plaintiff in the case.

Turkcell added that it “will continue to pursue all of its legal rights against this decision, including an appeal of the decision and will continue to vigorously and determinedly defend its rights both for compensation for the damages suffered and also for ensure that relevant MTN executives are held accountable and punished.”