Telecom

CBN And MTN Close To Settling USD8.1 Billion Dispute


The MTN Group and the Central Bank of Nigeria are said to be close to finally putting their legal scuffle to bed. A settlement is expected by Monday, 12 November 2018, and could come as early as Friday, 9 November 2018, in the heated fight between the two parties over $10 billion in repatriated funds and back taxes.



A source involved with the matter, who requested not to be identified as they are not authorised to comment publicly told Bloomberg that a deal could be struck very soon.



The source said that the Central Bank of Nigeria is expected to meet the four banks accused of processing the transfers — Standard Chartered Plc, Stanbic IBTC Plc, Citigroup Inc and Diamond Bank Plc. The meeting will be held in Lagos, Nigeria, and could end the saga once and for all.



MTN, Standard Chartered, Citibank and Stanbic IBTC declined to comment.



Calls that were made after hours to representatives from Diamond Bank and a spokesman for CBN seeking confirmation went unanswered.



Africa’s largest wireless carrier, MTN would undoubtedly be relieved to see the dispute finally come to an amicable end after all this time.



The Johannesburg-based telecoms giant lost close to a fifth of its market value since Nigerian authorities ordered in late August 2017 that it needed to repay the $8.1 billion.



MTN and all four banks, which have been fined a staggering $16 million between them, cling to their claims of innocence and deny any wrongdoing.



According to the source, in the event of eventually reaching a settlement, MTN will most probably dismiss its court case against the central bank and Nigeria’s attorney general, which it had filed to stop the transfer order.



Settling this particular case would at least solve half of MTN’s legal drama in Nigeria. The storm may not be entirely over though because the company still has to answer to claims that it owes $2 billion in back taxes in Nigeria, its largest market.
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