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Nigeria, MTN getting closer to settlement

Nigeria, MTN getting closer to settlement

Nigeria's central bank and MTN could soon strike a deal in their dispute over the repatriation of $8.1 billion.

Nigeria's central bank and South African telecommunications firm MTN could soon strike a deal in their dispute over the repatriation of $8.1 billion, Nigeria's information minister said yesterday.

The central bank says MTN transferred $8.1 billion of funds out of Nigeria in breach of foreign-exchange regulations.

Nigeria, which accounts for a third of the South African company's annual core profit, is MTN's biggest market.

"I am sure there will be a settlement and I believe they are getting closer to resolving it," Nigerian information minister Lai Mohammed told Reuters during a visit to London.

"They are 'businessmen' and they are going to resolve it... it is in the interest of all the parties that this matter will be resolved," he said, declining to give any further details.

MTN's shares have lost a fifth of their value since the Nigerian central bank ordered the firm and the four banks involved (Standard Chartered, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Citibank and Diamond Bank) to bring back the funds on 29 August.

Governor Godwin Emefiele said earlier this month that the central bank may reduce the amount.

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