Orascom Telecom’s CEO has said he expects to see a USD1.3 billion legal battle relating to the firm’s operations in Algeria settled this year. Ahmed Abou Doma told Zawya Dow Jones that Orascom has not set aside any cash to cover the fine which was levied for alleged breaches of foreign exchange rules by its Algerian mobile unit Djezzy. Abou Doma said the allegations are ‘groundless’ and he is confident that Orascom’s legal appeal against the fine will come to a successful conclusion this year.
Djezzy was first accused of wrongdoing back in 2010 and the DZD99 billion (USD1.3 billion) penalty was imposed by the government earlier this year. Orascom’s initial challenge against the decision in Algeria’s Court of Appeal ended unsuccessfully last month, but the Egypt-based parent company has now turned to the country’s Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn the fine. Orascom is backed by international telecoms group Vimpelcom, and Djezzy – Algeria’s mobile market leader – is its largest revenue generator.