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MTN reviewing allegations after being named in US complaint

The complaint alleges several firms, including MTN, violated the US Anti-Terrorism Act.
MTN is one of several companies named in a US complaint for allegedly paying protection money to extremist groups in Afghanistan. Image: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

South African telecoms firm MTN on Monday said it was reviewing allegations raised in a US complaint which accuses several firms of paying protection money to militant Islamist groups in Afghanistan.

The complaint was filed in the United States District Court in the District of Columbia on Friday.

It alleges the firms violated the US Anti-Terrorism Act by paying protection money to al Qaeda and the Taliban, thereby providing material support to known terrorist organisations.

It seeks damages on behalf of US military members and civilians killed or wounded in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017.

“MTN is reviewing the details of the report and is consulting its advisers but remains of the view that it conducts its business in a responsible and compliant manner in all its territories,” the company said in a statement.

UK security services company G4S, which was also named in the lawsuit, declined to comment.

The complaint follows investigations by a group of large Washington-based law firms and alleges firms provided “material support” to known terrorists leading to numerous US injuries and deaths, according to a statement by the law firms involved.

MTN spokeswoman Nompilo Morafo said the company could not yet respond directly to the specific allegations in the report as it was still going through the details.

“We cannot comment further than what we’ve said in the statement. We want a chance to review the allegations. We only received the suit on Friday and we’re still going through it. I also can’t confirm how long it’s going to take,” Morafo said.

MTN is Africa’s largest mobile operator and eighth biggest in the world with 243.7 million subscribers. It has previously faced scrutiny over its Iranian operations.

In February a former South African ambassador to Iran was arrested on charges that he took a bribe to help MTN win a $31.6 billion licence to operate there.

The company has also faced costly disputes over unregistered SIM cards, tax and dividend repatriation in Nigeria.


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I will put absolutely nothing up as a defense for this allegation.

These guys operate where they want according to their rules and getting off on a 700 million dollar fine (without a bribe) is no mean feat.

Wonder how they will “spin” themselves out of this one -if they can.

Is its only MTN????… Watch this space… Banks are complicit.

Mtn the gift that gives on giving. The price you pay for operating in countries like Iran and Nigeria.

hegemony – “leadership or dominance, especially by one state or social group over others”.

So, MTN is not allowed to let the protection of their financial interests interfere with the US protecting its financial interests?

What is the common thread that links The War Against Terror, The Weapons of Mass Destruction, The War Against Drugs, Money laundering legislation, legislation against tax-avoidance, the scrutiny of offshore bank accounts, tariffs against China, sanctions against Russia and Venezuela, the accommodative stance against the Saudi Prince who ordered the murder of Khashoggi, the riots and social upheaval in Hong Kong, and the Petro-Dollar system?

Find the answer to this question, and you will understand the driver of contemporary international politics. A world power past its sell-by date, trying to protect the value of its currency. This definitely is a matter of national interest for the USA, a valid reason and sound motivation for the perpetual wars against “terror”.

Am thinking along the same lines, Sensei. I hope not MTN becomes Africa’s first large “technology victim” in the same manner like the dubious US allegations against HUAWEI Technologies (and Kaspersky Lab in 2015). Anything to kill your competition’s reputation.

US can be considered guilty of “economic terrorism” in its goal to maintain it’s Nr.1 position globally. A number of European countries will agree with me, never mind China.

MTN must be presumed to be innocent of these allegations, this is another way for US based groups, and companies which have failed to make material progress in securing economic rights locally to batter ‘foreign’ companies that have somehow managed to study, and master local conditions and culture and built business networks in the local culture.

I am frankly surprised that they have not gone after Norway (Which has won nearly all signigicant oil contracts in northern Iraq, and China which has won virtually all mining rights to rare earth minerals in viraually all of Afghanistan. MTN must vigorously defend itself against such frivolous lawsuits, because the hope of these class action lawsuit peddlers is that multinationals will settle out of fear that the protracted litigation will adversely impact the share value and thus investor sentiment.

Why don’t these groups sue the US forces themselves who have in their reckless sales of decommissioned weapons, including active ones, might I add, to the Taliban and other forces in the region to ensure their stay and income from both illicit weapons and opium?

You want to “sue” the USA? With military force I suppose?

SA could’ve been in a position to challenge the US Navy with ‘our’ imaginary 7 aircraft carriers….IF we didn’t blow almost R500billion on Eskom debt… 🙁

Well it is a ANC company and they are known terrorists.

See them for what they are.

LMAO, when exactly did MTN become an ANC company (whatever that means

“Well it is a ANC company and they are known terrorists.”

That is actually a compliment to the ANC. Look at the JSE, ANC’s PIC did well over there and not only for ANC and SA but for all the investors across the world investing in SA-linked,JSE-linked entities.

Well done ANC.

What is MTN doing in Afghanistan?

When did they go in? Sue the then CEO and CFO and the whole board.

They do business in Afghanistan? Afganistan people also need sell phones and lovely things like that.

There are enough mobile operators in that region to take up the flack without MTN supporting who they do.

When did MTN enter Afghanistan, you ask?

Now I sit and ponder…..who really was behind the recent theft of 19 R4 semi-automatic rifles at a base near Centurion? MTN is taking up the fight.

The “Better military Connection” now ties in with “Everywhere You Go”.

‘Merican cry babies looking for a payday. If you are a soldier you must except some risks.

I remember sitting in Tarn Qwot with complete light discipline in force, and being able to roam with good old MTN!
No doubt they paid the taliban, or whichever filthy m’slim warlord in charge to operate in the area.

“ In February a former South African ambassador to Iran was arrested on charges that he took a bribe to help MTN win a $31.6 billion licence to operate there.”

What happened to that story?

As to this story : when some people pay bribes (as in UK defense contractors paying Saudi princes 17 billion) it is shooed off as not being in the national interest to prosecute. Bygones, look elsewhere.


I suppose Saudi princes like the Bin Ladin clan are not on the terrorist lists.

Not that I condone MTN paying protection money, but the hypocrisy sits sideways in the throat.

So I guess giving up my MTN contract will be in order then?

Here come the “Americans.”

Look at the MTN shareprice over the last 5 years, 50% destruction of value for SA pension funds.

Dodgy ethics and not much business savvy, typical bully boy approach.

Being an Mtn shareholder is an unpleasant rollercoaster.
Lots of chestpains

MTN, Resilient, Capitec etc etc…..where there’s smoke there’s fire, you just pass.

Perhaps we should not call it ‘bribes’. It is more like companies ‘paving’ the way to smooth the business process?
Or something like that.

The causal link between the deaths of the US “victims” and the supposed funding of terror groups is a bit of a stretch.

The US law firms are looking for defendants with deep pockets.

In any case, the “victims” accepted the risk when they signed up.

Lastly, what is the US doing in Afghanistan?

End of comments.





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