UAE-based telecoms operator Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) has rejected claims it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kurdish mobile operator Korek Telekom to buy a majority stake in the firm. In a statement on the website of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Etisalat’s CFO Salem Ali Al Sharhan denied the existence of a deal with Korek regarding the acquisition of a majority stake in the cellco. Last week Arabic daily al-Bayan reported that a MoU had been signed between the two companies, citing informed sources in the Iraqi government. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Etisalat first expressed an interest in securing a 51% stake in Korek in October 2008, in a deal worth up to USD1 billion. In December 2009 the company revealed it was considering whether to bid for a licence in Iraq or instead buy a stake in Korek, while in February 2010 Etisalat said it was ‘almost near to finalising a deal’ with the cellco.