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MTN’s Areeba Unit in Guinea to Pay 15 Million Euro Penalty

MTN Group Ltd.’s Areeba unit has sent the Guinean government a letter agreeing to pay a 15-million euro ($22 million) penalty within 10 days, said Oye Guilavogui, the country’s telecommunications minister.

The assets of the company will remain in the custody of the government until the dispute has been resolved, Guilavogui said today on state-owned Conakry-based Radio Television Guineene.

MTN spokesman Rich Mkhondo said the dispute with the Guinean government is resolved. “That is all we know at this stage and I can’t say if the fine was paid or not paid,” he said. “Business was never interrupted, though we weren’t in control of our operations for about a week,” Mkhondo said by phone from Johannesburg.

MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile-phone company, bought Areeba as part of a $5.53 billion 2007 merger with Middle Eastern mobile-phone company Investcom LLC. The dispute related to fees allegedly owed to authorities, MTN said May 6.

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