Nigeria’s central bank governor to negotiate MTN $8bn dispute

By Loni Prinsloo Time of article published Oct 9, 2018

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INTERNATIONAL - Nigeria’s central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, will meet with MTN Group Ltd. and four banks on Tuesday to negotiate a dispute over $8.1 billion the bank says was transferred illegally out of the country, two people familiar with the situation said.

The meeting comes two days after Emefiele said Johannesburg-based MTN has provided documents that may help reduce the size of the claim, suggesting a deal could be on the horizon. Africa’s biggest phone company by sales was hit with the shock claim in August, and four lenders -- Standard Chartered Plc, Citigroup Inc., Stanbic IBTC Plc and Diamond Bank Plc -- were fined a combined $16 million for facilitating the transfers.

The people asked not to be identified because the information has not been made public. Lagos-based Business Day reported the meeting earlier. Spokespeople for the central bank could not immediately be reached for comment.
FILE PHOTO: A shopper walks past an MTN shop at mall in Johannesburg
MTN Chief Executive Officer Rob Shuter has been battling to contain the crisis amid a 20 percent slump in the share price. 

He’s flown to the country to reassure employees of the company’s commitment to the market, MTN’s biggest with about 66 million customers, and the wireless operator has applied to Nigeria’s Federal High Court to stop any enforcement of the claim.

MTN shares were little changed at 86 rand as of 9:57 a.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 162 billion rand ($10.9 billion).


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