MTN faces new claims in lawsuit over alleged terrorist payments

MTN faces new allegations of aiding al-Qaeda and the Taliban, reports Reuters.

According to Reuters, the allegations claim that MTN paid protection money to both of these terrorist groups.

The original lawsuit against MTN was filed in December 2019 in the United States District Court in the District of Columbia.

The lawsuit claimed that MTN – along with five other groups – violated America’s Anti-Terrorism Act by paying al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

“The complaint was filed on behalf of American service members and civilians, and their families, who were killed or wounded in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017,” said MTN in December.

“The complaint alleges that several Western businesses supported the Taliban by, inter alia, making payments to ensure the protection of their infrastructure.”

Updated complaint

An updated lawsuit was filed on Friday and claims that MTN’s conduct in Afghanistan “targeted the United States.”

It is claimed that MTN paid over $100 million to al-Qaeda and the Taliban so its towers would not be destroyed.

The lawsuit also claims that MTN would switch off these towers at night and in doing so hampered US intelligence operations.

MTN previously denied the allegations against it and filed for the suit to be dismissed in April.

“MTN has deep sympathy for those who have been injured or lost loved ones as a result of the tragic conflict in Afghanistan,” said MTN.

“As stated in the motion to dismiss, however, MTN Group and its subsidiaries ‘are not the extremists that caused Plaintiffs’ tragic losses and injuries.'”

“Put simply, Plaintiffs have sued the wrong defendants in the wrong court based on insufficient allegations,” said MTN.

However, in accordance with US law, it was not allowed to challenge the facts brought against it, so it has sought other means to get the suit dismissed.

“Under US law and procedures, MTN is not permitted at this stage of the lawsuit to challenge or contest the factual allegations made against the company, so the motion to dismiss focuses on the lack of jurisdiction and the legal insufficiency of the claims,” MTN explained.

MTN said that it was again considering filing for the case to be dismissed.

“Now that the complaint has been amended with additional allegations, MTN anticipates filing another ‘motion to dismiss’ to take these new allegations into account,” said MTN.

It added that despite the new allegations, the core of its motion to dismiss remains unchanged.

“While MTN is reviewing the new material, it does not change the fundamental defects in the case explained in the April motion,” said MTN.

“We are reviewing the new material in consultation with our legal advisers,” said MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter.

Shuter said, however, that MTN remains “of the view that we conduct our business in a responsible and compliant manner in all our territories.”

Now read: MTN to launch new 5G network in June

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MTN faces new claims in lawsuit over alleged terrorist payments