Nigeria’s central bank to meet with MTN: sources

Nigeria’s central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, will meet with MTN Group and four banks on Tuesday to negotiate a dispute over US$8.1-billion the bank says was transferred illegally out of the country, two people familiar with the situation said.

The meeting comes two days after Emefiele said Johannesburg-based MTN has provided documents that may help reduce the size of the claim, suggesting a deal could be on the horizon. Africa’s biggest phone company by sales was hit with the shock claim in August, and four lenders — Standard Chartered, Citigroup, Stanbic IBTC and Diamond Bank — were fined a combined US$16-million for facilitating the transfers.

The people asked not to be identified because the information has not been made public. Lagos-based Business Day reported the meeting earlier. Spokespeople for the central bank could not immediately be reached for comment.

MTN CEO Rob Shuter has been battling to contain the crisis amid a 20% slump in the share price. He’s flown to the country to reassure employees of the company’s commitment to the market, MTN’s biggest with about 66 million customers, and the wireless operator has applied to Nigeria’s federal high court to stop any enforcement of the claim.

MTN shares were little changed at R86 as of 9.57am in Johannesburg, valuing the company at R162-billion.

Source:  Bloomberg LP (Via Tech Central)



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