South Africa’s MTN filed its plea in the long-running litigation where Turkcell is claiming damages against MTN as a result of MTN having acquired a 49 percent interest in Irancell, which was awarded the second GSM License in Iran in November 2005.
MTN said Turkcell's claim is "opportunistic, an abuse of the process of Court, baseless and without merit." The company said it "will not be bullied, harassed and oppressed in this matter and have every expectation that we will prevail."
MTN claims Turkcell was the author of its own misfortune in failing to obtain the license in Iran. "When it became clear that Turkcell was unwilling or unable to comply with the new legislative requirement that its shareholding in the license be not greater than 49 percent, the Iranian authorities offered the opportunity to MTN, which it accepted," said MTN in a statement.
"Turkcell obviously regretted their decision and has ever since engaged in four different sets of legal proceedings, all of which have been lost," the statement added.
Turkcell's allegations rest on a former MTN employee who has been described as a "fantasist" and a "conspiracy theorist" and whose allegations have been dismissed, according to MTN, by an independent investigation.
When the allegations made by Turkcell were first raised, MTN appointed an Independent Special Committee under the Chairmanship of the international jurist, Lord Leonard Hoffmann, to investigate the allegations. Lord Hoffmann embarked upon a thorough analysis of the investigations.
When furnishing his report into his findings, Lord Hoffmann made the point that his Committee had "received full cooperation from the company and had been given unrestricted access to all individuals, information, documents and facilities" which his Committee requested.
He observed that there had "not been the slightest attempt by the company or its management to influence the Committee in its deliberations or Report".
He found that Turkcell's allegations, which rested upon the evidence of one Mr. Christian Kilowan, were all "a fabric of lies, distortions and inventions"; and that Mr. Kilowan was shown to be "a fantasist and a conspiracy theorist".
Lord Hoffmann said he was satisfied that there was no conspiracy between MTN and Iranian officials to remove Turkcell from the license process in Iran, that there were no promises made to procure the South African government to supply defense equipment to Iran or to support Iran's nuclear policy, nor that MTN had advanced sham loans to its Iranian partners, nor indeed that any promises of payment to Iranian or South African officials were made or authorized by Mr. Nhleko or Ms Charnley.
Earlier this year, Dr. Mahmoud Vaezi, the Minister in Iran's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, rejected Turkcell's allegations in an interview with Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency. Minister Vaezi was reported to have said that all relevant documents have been looked at, with nothing to establish Turkcell's claims.
The case in South Africa is the fifth time that Turkcell has attempted to pursue legal proceedings in respect of the same issues. MTN said Turkcell "continues to pursue its claims only to harass and oppress." The company added, "We consider that it is most unjust to burden MTN with a fifth round of litigation of substantially the same matters."
Turkcell's four previous attempts, including proceedings before reputable international arbitration panels, failed.