File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - An external committee appointed by MTN Group to investigate claims by rival Turkcell of corrupt dealings in Iran has dismissed the allegations as “a fabric of lies, distortions and inventions”.

The investigation, chaired by retired British judge Lord Hoffman, also cleared the African mobile phone giant of charges it promised to get the South African government to supply Iran with defence equipment in exchange for a telecoms operating licence.

Turkcell has filed a suit in the US federal court in Washington accusing MTN of using its influence in Pretoria to arrange support for Iran's military.

“Following a critical examination of the evidence, the Hoffmann Committee found that Turkcell's allegations are 'a fabric of lies, distortions and inventions',” MTN said in a filing to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

The probe also absolved MTN of allegations of bribery to win an Iranian operating licence, which had initially been awarded to Turkcell.

MTN shares were up 1 percent to 177 rand at 12:09 SA time, compared with a 0.68 percent rise by the Top-40 index. - Reuters