MTN Group faces fresh allegations in US, report says

8 Jun 2020

Reuters reports that African regional carrier MTN Group is facing further allegations in the United States, amid rumours that as yet unnamed Washington-based law firms filed an amended complaint on 5 June 2020 claiming the group’s behaviour ‘targeted the United States’ by aiming to become dominant in markets in ‘unstable countries not allied with Washington’. The filing, on behalf of the families of US soldiers, alleges Africa’s largest telco sided with rebel groups in Afghanistan, including accusations it paid ‘protection money’ to them. The Reuters report notes that the original lawsuit, filed in December 2019, targets at least eight multinational companies – including MTN, security firm G4S, US infrastructure group Louis Berger and consultancy Janus Global – that operated in Afghanistan and Iran between 2009 and 2017. It accuses those named of breaking the US Anti-Terrorism Act by paying protection money to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, with MTN allegedly handing over money to ensure its cell towers were not targeted. MTN, however, has denied the allegations, and asked the court to dismiss the original suit.

South Africa, MTN Group