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By Didi Akinyelure
LAGOS, Dec 4 (Reuters) - South African telecoms firm MTN Group and Nigeria’s central bank are in talks to settle an $8.1 billion dispute, their lawyers said on Tuesday, as a court in Lagos adjourned the case between the parties until Dec. 12.
The dispute is over the transfer of $8.1 billion of funds which Nigeria’s central bank said the company had sent abroad in breach of foreign-exchange regulations. MTN has denied any wrongdoing.
Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, accounting for a third of the South African company’s annual core profit. The mobile phone network serves 56 million people in Nigeria.
Seyi Sowemino, a lawyer representing Nigeria’s central bank, said the parties were in advanced stages towards the settlement. “We just want to cross T’s and dot I’s,” he told the court.
Wole Olanipekun, a lawyer representing MTN, also said the two parties were in talks.
The lawyers requested a short adjournment for lawyers to report back to the court on the settlement talks. The judge adjourned the case to Dec. 12. (Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Edmund Blair)