MTN, CBN close to settlement in talks lawyers told court

MTN Group and Central Bank of Nigeria are in advanced stage in talks to settle the $8.1 billion dispute the CBN accused the telecom of illegally transferred from the country, their lawyers told a court in Lagos which as a result adjourned the case between the parties until December 12. The dispute is over the transfer of $8.1 billion of funds which Nigeria’s central bank said the company had sent abroad in breach of foreign-exchange regulations. MTN has denied any wrongdoing.

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, accounting for a third of the South African company’s annual core profit. The mobile phone network serves 56 million people in Nigeria. Seyi Sowemino, a lawyer representing Nigeria’s central bank, said the parties were in advanced stages towards the settlement. “We just want to cross T’s and dot I’s,” he told the court. Wole Olanipekun, a lawyer representing MTN, also said the two parties were in talks. The lawyers requested a short adjournment for lawyers to report back to the court on the settlement talks. The judge adjourned the case to Dec. 12.

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