S.Africa police probe MTN Iran graft allegations

June 5, 2012 16:29

JOHANNESBURG, June 5 (Reuters) - South Africa's elite Hawks police unit has opened an investigation into allegations of corruption at mobile phone giant MTN relating to its purchase of a cellular license in Iran, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

The police probe follows a $4.2 billion U.S. civil claim filed in March by Turkish operator Turkcell accusing Africa's largest mobile firm of bribing Iranian officials with cash and promises of weapons to secure the license, which was originally awarded to Turkcell.

"There are allegations of corruption. That's exactly what we're investigating," Hawks spokesman MacIntosh Polela said.

MTN executives were also accused in the U.S. court papers of promising to get Pretoria to vote favorably about Tehran's nuclear program at international forums trying to curb Iran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

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