MTN files motion to dismiss Turkcell claim

2012-07-03 12:32

MTN has filed a motion to dismiss a case filed against it by a Turkish mobile operator in a United States court, the company said today.

“MTN contends that Turkcell’s US claim is a legally insufficient restatement of a case that Turkcell has already tried and lost,” MTN said in a statement.

The motion was filed yesterday.

Turkcell Iletisim (Turkcell) claims that MTN bribed officials, arranged meetings for Iran with South African leaders, and promised Iran weapons and United Nations votes in exchange for a mobile operating licence in Iran, according to media reports.

It filed a lawsuit in March for compensation in a US federal court in Washington, DC.

However, MTN said Turkcell’s case was the latest of four legal claims Turkcell had launched, after failing to secure the Iranian mobile licence in 2005.

The first two claims had already been decided and were both unsuccessful.

MTN contends that Turkcell has no proper basis for its claim to be brought, for three principal reasons.

“First, the US court does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter of Turkcell’s claim,” said MTN.

This was because Turkcell had not alleged a violation of the law of nations, as was required under US law for the sort of claim it was seeking to bring in the US.

Because Turkcell’s arbitration against its former Iranian joint-venture partner was recently dismissed by a Paris-based arbitration tribunal, the US claim should also be dismissed, as already having been decided against Turkcell.

This award precluded the claim brought against MTN for the alleged loss of the licence.

“Thirdly, the US court lacks personal jurisdiction over MTN and its subsidiary, MTN International,” MTN said.

“MTN and MTN International both lack sufficient contact with the United States to be subject to the jurisdiction of the US court.”

Turkcell must respond by August 1. MTN then has until August 15 to reply.

The court’s decision was expected later this year.

“MTN believes that there is no legal merit to Turkcell’s US claim and no basis for such a claim to be brought in the US court, and MTN therefore remains confident that the claim will be dismissed,” the company said.

Turkcell announced its court action in a statement posted to its website on March 29.

The company said it was awarded Iran’s first private mobile license in 2004, but was subsequently barred from concluding its licence arrangement.

Instead, MTN won the licence.

“Newly received information by Turkcell indicates that the signing of the licence agreement with MTN instead of our company was a consequence of MTN’s actions at that time,” Turkcell said.

“In light of the harm caused by MTN’s actions to both Turkcell and to its shareholders, Turkcell today filed a lawsuit against MTN seeking the compensation of such damages.”

The suit had been filed in the US because both companies had extensive business dealings in the US and because MTN was alleged to have breached international law.

“Turkcell had previously conducted settlement discussions with MTN, however, MTN terminated the discussions in March through a public announcement,” Turkcell said.

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