Suit against Lebanese government thrown out of US court

12 May 2005

A multi-million dollar lawsuit against the government of Lebanon has been thrown out of court by a Michigan District judge on appeal. The Lebanese government had originally been ordered to pay American Telecom Group USD420 million in March 2005 after a US District Court ruled that the Oakland-based provider was unfairly disqualified from bidding for the management contracts of state-owned Lebanese mobile operators Cellis and LibanCell. The suit claimed that the Lebanese government encouraged US firms to bid for the contracts only as a means of luring European companies to the tender. Despite the fact that its bids were better than those of the eventual winners, American Telecom claimed that the Lebanese authorities never intended to offer the contracts to any US business because of prevailing anti-American sentiment. Germany’s DeTeCon and MTC of Kuwait were awarded the management rights to the cellcos in June 2004. Lebanon strongly refuted the claims, saying that it refused the firm’s bid because it failed to fully complete the necessary documents. It also claimed that American Telecom’s Lebanese expat chairman Issam Beydoun had spent two years in prison for writing bad cheques.

Lebanon, Alfa (MIC 1), Touch Lebanon (MIC 2)