Following the fines placed by the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Nigerian office of African telecommunications giant, MTN last week, credit rating firm Fitch has revealed plans to place the company on Rating Watch Negative (RWN).
MTN, which is on the ‘BB+’ Issuer Default Rating (IDR) is currently embroiled in allegations of tax violations and illegal repatriation of money from Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria fined MTN $8.1 billion for illegal remittance of foreign exchange from its Nigerian office to its South African headquarters through four Nigerian banks; Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC Limited, Diamond Bank, and Citibank.
Nigeria’s Attorney General Malami also alleged that MTN Nigeria did not pay taxes on foreign payments and on imports worth $2.0 billion. The AGF ordered the company to pay those taxes within 14 days. MTN has, in turn, sued the Central Bank of Nigeria and the office of the AGF and is seeking an injunction against both bodies to stop them from reclaiming the fines.
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