DURBAN - The offices of mobile carrier MTN were raided by the Hawks because of the investigation into the conflict between MTN and Turkcell.
The offices of the MTN's law firm Webber Wentzel were also raided by the investigative unit.
In a Fin24 article, the spokesman for the Hawks Hangwani Mulaudzi said that that the raids took place on Friday and they seized documents and equipment from MTN and it's law firms.
According to Mulaudzi, the Hawks serious corruption investigation and the priority crime and specialised investigations units handled the search and seizure raid on allegations of foreign bribery.
Mulaudzi said that the objective was to acquire documentation that related to the deal and seize equipment that is connected to the matter.
MTN's law firm Webber Wentzel said in a statement that as a law firm they are professionally prohibited from providing any third party with information that pertains to their clients' matters.
The law firm said that they are checking the lawfulness of the warrant and its execution by the Hawks' various grounds including legal privilege.
Webber Wentzel has made sure that the documents and information that was seized will be kept by an independent third party that they have nominated pending the results of an application to the high court.
Thye said that they will make sure that their client's rights are protected and that legal privilege which is a key principle in their profession is upheld.
MTN vs. Turkcell
The dispute between MTN and Turkcell can be traced back to 2005. Turkcell has accused the mobile carrier of paying bribes to get an operating licence in Iran in November 2005.
Turkey’s Turkcell launched a $4.2 billion lawsuit over Iran licence dispute.
Turkcell alleges that MTN used bribery and wrongful influence to win a lucrative Iran licence originally awarded to Turkcell.
MTN rejects the allegations.
“MTN remains of the view that Turkcell’s claim is opportunistic, an abuse of the process of Court, baseless and without merit,” the company said in a statement, adding it was cooperating with authorities.
MTN owns 49% of MTN Irancell the Middle Eastern country's second mobile network operator.
Istanbul-based Turkcell first brought the suit against MTN in the United States in 2012. A year later it withdrew the U.S. suit and filed in South Africa, where the case has been stuck in procedural wrangling since.
A South African court allowed the case to go to trial a year ago.
The case in South Africa, which a Turkcell lawyer has said could be heard towards the end of the year, is the fifth legal proceedings by Turkcell against MTN over the same issue.
Shares in MTN fell 2.7 percent to 115.58 rand by 1434 GMT, lagging a slightly weaker blue-chip JSE Top-40 index.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE