MTN Hires Former U.S. Attorney-General to Advise on Nigeria Fine

MTN Group Ltd. hired former U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder to take part in talks with Nigerian regulators about settling a $3.9 billion fine, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Holder held preliminary talks with NCC Chief Executive Officer Umaru Danbatta regarding the record penalty, which was imposed on Africa’s largest wireless company for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers, the regulator’s spokesman, Tony Ojobo, said by phone on Wednesday. The Financial Times earlier reported Holder’s involvement.

“We have consultants working for us across the globe,” MTN spokesman Chris Maroleng said by phone, declining to comment on Holder.

MTN shares gained 0.4 percent to 126.14 rand as of 11:52 a.m. in Johannesburg, reducing the decline since the fine was made public on Oct. 26 to 34 percent. That values the company at 233 billion rand ($14.4 billion).

The penalty was originally set at $5.1 billion before an appeal by MTN led to a reduction by 25 percent. A Lagos court said Jan. 22 that the matter would be adjourned until March 18, allowing the two parties to reach an agreement.

Holder, a partner at Washington D.C.-based law firm Covington & Burling LLP, advises clients on litigation matters, including those that are international in scope and involve significant regulatory and reputational concerns, according to the company’s website. He was attorney-general from 2009 to 2015.

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