Iraqi court dismisses $4.5 bln claim against Zain
The claimant's lawsuit argued Zain's takeover had stopped the firm buying Iraqna, causing it a $4.5 billion loss
An Iraqi court has rejected a $4.5 billion lawsuit against Zain over its 2007 acquisition of an Iraqi telecom operator, dismissing the applicants' right to appeal, the Kuwaiti group said on Sunday.
In a separate judgment, a court also fined Zain unit Zain Iraq $100 million for using a range of mobile phone numbers without the telecom regulator's permission, although the operator can still appeal against this penalty.
In reference to the $4.5 billion court case, Zain bought Iraqna for $1.2 billion from Orascom Telecom in December 2007 after the Egyptian company dropped out of the running for a long-term mobile licence in Iraq.
The Kuwaiti firm then merged its Iraqi unit, Atheer, with Iraqna and renamed the entity Zain Iraq, which today is the country's biggest operator by subscribers.
The claimant's lawsuit argued Zain's takeover had stopped the firm buying Iraqna, causing it a $4.5 billion loss.
An Iraqi court dismissed the case in July, but the unnamed claimants - identified by industry sources as shareholders in No.3 mobile operator Korek, part-owned by France's Orange - successfully appealed as a court ruled in their favor.
Zain mounted its own appeal to a higher court, which subsequently instructed the lower court to reconsider its verdict.
The lower court then decided it had erred in its original verdict, reversing its decision and finding in favor of Zain.
That decision has now been ratified, leaving the applicants no right of appeal, according to a Kuwaiti bourse statement on Sunday.
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