MTN Received Nigerian Approval to Repatriate Funds Last Year

(Bloomberg) -- MTN Group Ltd. and four lenders won approval from Nigeria’s central bank to repatriate funds in a ruling last year, indicating Africa’s largest wireless operator is at least now complying with regulations it’s accused of flouting prior to 2015.

In a letter addressed to MTN Nigeria’s chief executive officer dated Feb. 22, 2017, the central bank confirms the validity of the company’s certificates of capital importation, which are needed to take funds out of the country. Managing directors of the local units of Citigroup Inc., Standard Chartered Plc, Standard Bank Group Ltd.’s Stanbic IBTC and Diamond Bank Plc were copied in the document.

However, the Nigerian central bank last week demanded MTN return $8.1 billion illegally taken out of the country between 2007 and 2015, making no reference to transactions after that date. The allegations -- which the South African company denies -- have weighed heavily on MTN’s shares, which traded 1.8 percent lower at 87.42 rand as of 1:16 p.m. in Johannesburg.

The letter to MTN Nigeria was first obtained by Lagos-based newspaper Business Day.

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