Announcing the end of the year-long investigation into claims that MTN had engaged in corrupt and illegal practices in a bid to win a licence to launch Iran’s second mobile network in 2005, Lord Hoffmann concluded that the allegations made by Turkcell were “a fabric of lies, distortions and inventions”.
The Committee found that there was no conspiracy between MTN and the Iranian government regarding the ousting of Turkcell from the contract - agreed in 2005 - which saw a consortium of which MTN is a member win the mobile network operating licence.
Furthermore, allegations by Turkcell that the deal had been acquired through promises made by MTN that the company would ensure the provision of defence equipment by South Africa to Iran were false, nor had MTN undertaken to promote Iran’s nuclear programme at the IAEA as Turkcell claimed.
Claims that payments of up to US$200 million had been made to former the South African ambassador to Iran Yusuf Saloojee were also found to be untrue.
Phutuma Nhleko, former CEO of MTN, has also been cleared of signing off on alleged payments of bribe money to various senior government officials. Other MTN executives implicated in the claims of bribery have also been cleared.
The Hoffmann Committee has approved the full report- which runs to 193 pages plus 500 pages of appendices - and recommended that it be published on the MTN website, which the MTN Board has agreed to do.
The Company now awaits the ruling of the US Supreme Court, which is currently examining the extent of the court’s jurisdiction to rule over a non-US foreign entity. The ruling of the court could impact on whether Turkcell will be able to pursue its US$4.2 billion claim against MTN in the US legal system.