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Zain Hit with $4.5 Billion Lawsuit over Iraqi Investment

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Kuwait based Zain has confirmed that it is facing a USD4.5 billion lawsuit that stems from its 2007 acquisition of an Iraqi mobile network operator in 2007.

In a statement, Zain confirmed that it had received the lawsuit last August from an unnamed company who alleges that Zain's purchase of Iraqna in 2007 blocked its own rival offer.

Back in 2007, Zain bought Iraqna for USD1.2 billion from Orascom Telecom after it lost out in the auction to renew its mobile license. 

Zain has been providing mobile telephony in Iraq since December 2003 (previously under the name of mtc-atheer). In August 2007, the company acquired a 15-year nationwide licence for USD1.25 billion, shortly thereafter followed by the acquisition of Iraqna.

On January 5, 2008 Zain Group merged Atheer with Iraqna under the new brand name Zain.

As a consequence of the new lawsuit, an Iraqi court has ruled that that revenues from the Iraqna part of the merged company be put into a holding account and not released pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

"Zain Iraq believes its position in the case is strong as the claimant company has failed until now to produce any evidence to back its claim," Zain said in the statement.

Zain also noted that the unnamed company is also suing the Iraqi government for a further USD1 billion.

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Tags: zain  orascom telecom  iraqna  atheer telecom  Iraq