Turkcell's $4.2bn suit against MTN set for trial

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Turkish operator originally launched legal action against MTN back in 2012, but trial over Iranian GSM license has been beset with delays

Turkcell has said its $4.2 billion lawsuit against MTN over a disputed license in Iran is set to go to trial in a court in South Africa, according to reports.

The Turkish operator launched legal proceedings against MTN in 2012, claiming the South African company had illegally won an Iranian mobile license originally assigned to Turkcell through bribery.

The case, originally filed in a court in the United States, was later withdrawn, but Turkcell filed a suit in a South African court a year later, only to see it delayed by legal wranglings. In its initial filing, Turkcell said it had been awarded Iran’s first private GSM licence in 2004, but was “unlawfully prevented” from receiving it.

According to Reuters, the case is now set to be heard in South Africa, with Turkcell claiming it will seek the earliest possible trial date.

"We are delighted that the case is finally coming to trial in South Africa," Serhat Demir, a Turkcell vice president, said in a statement.

"Turkcell will be seeking the earliest possible trial date, and looks forward to vindicating its claims before the South African courts."

The delays were caused by MTN filing objections, and the Turkish operator’s responses. According to the reports, Turkcell claims the South African operator filed 30 additional objections, but these were rejected by the court, meaning the trial can go ahead.