FILE PHOTO: A shopper walks past an MTN shop at mall in Johannesburg
JOHANNESBURG - MTN Group said on Monday it has applied to Nigeria’s High Court to restrain the country’s Central Bank and the Attorney General from taking further action over its assets in the wake of a multibillion-dollar dispute.

Nigeria’s central bank last month ordered MTN’s Lagos-based unit to hand over $8.1 billion that it said was illegally sent abroad, and the government earlier this month handed MTN with a separate $2 billion tax bill.

The announcement of the tax bill came days after the west African country’s central bank ordered MTN’s Lagos-based unit hand over $8.1 billion that it said was illegal sent abroad.

In a statement outlining the background to the $8.1 billion that the central bank said MTN Nigerian unit used improperly issued certificates to send abroad, MTN disclosed it had been in talks with Nigeria’s Attorney General about an investigation into tax compliance by the mobile operator.