Iran, South Africa, bribery, and cell phones. Oh my.

World Economic Forum/Eric Miller

Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, captured during the Opening Plenary of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2008 in Cape Town, South Africa, June 4, 2008.

Article Highlights

  • A Turkish mobile media giant alleges that MTN Group Ltd, Africa’s largest mobile operator, bribed Iranians.

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  • Turkcell, a Turkish mobile media giant, alleges that MTN Group Ltd sold South African votes at the IAEA and UN.

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  • Iran, South Africa, bribery, and cell phones – oh my!

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This story isn’t getting enough play, and it deserves more. Ludlum couldn’t have written it better. Here are the highlights:

In a complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court, Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri, aka Turkcell, the Turkish mobile media giant, alleges that MTN Group Ltd, Africa’s largest mobile operator, bribed Iranians, sold South African votes at the IAEA and UN, and otherwise prostituted South African foreign policy to oust Turkcell from its contract in Iran and gain the lucrative market for itself.

Wait, it gets better. There’s “Long-J,” Iran’s former deputy former minister Javid Ghorbanoghli (allegedly bribed). There’s “Short-J,” Yusuf Saloojee, South Africa’s ambassador in Tehran in 2004 (also allegedly bribed).

There’s arms for cellphone contracts—allegedly including “Denel AH-2 Rooivalk helicopters, encrypted military radios, sniper rifles, G5 howitzer artillery weapons, cannons, armored personnel carriers and radar technology.” The whole arms list was supposedly codenamed “The Fish.”

There are clandestine visits between Supreme Leader Khamenei emissary Ali Larijani to then South African President Thabo Mbeki, allegedly in 2007. And another, allegedly, from then Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Needless to say, ex-Clinton counsel Lanny Davis represents MTN’s law firm. Of course he does. Who will Angelina play? Hard to tell yet.

Read the whole story here.

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