MTN Irancell appoints new CEO

MTN. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
MTN. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

MTN Irancell has appointed Bijan Abbasi Arand as its new CEO, replacing Alireza Ghalambor Dezfouli who will be retiring, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Dezfouli has served as the CEO of MTN Irancell since its inception in 2005.

The company described Abbasi as "one of the leading telecommunications experts in Iran and brings decades of experience in both the academic and commercial sectors."

MTN's entry into Iran has been dogged with allegations over murky dealings. Last week, the Hawks arrested a former ambassador to Iran, Yusuf Saloojee, over allegations that he facilitated the cancellation of the Turkcell license by the Iran government, which was then awarded to MTN.

As Bloomberg previously reported, the case has been the subject of legal claims for several years by the Turkish company, which accused the Johannesburg-based company of paying bribes to South African and Iranian officials to secure 49% of Irancell Telecommunication Co. Services in 2005, which gave it a license to operate in the country.

MTN has always denied the charges.

Saloojee, 75, now retired, is accused of earning R1.4m for his role in the process, which was then used to buy a house in Pretoria, according the Hawks.

He has been granted bail of R4000 and will again appear in court on April 17. 

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