By Chijioke Ohuocha and Didi Akinyelure
LAGOS, Oct 30 (Reuters) - A Lagos judge on Tuesday adjourned a hearing in a $10.1-billion dispute between South African telecoms firm MTN Group and Nigeria’s central bank until Dec 4.
The central bank has accused the firm of illegally sending $8.1 billion abroad, and the Nigerian government has demanded $2 billion in related taxes from MTN.
MTN, which makes about a third of its annual core profit in Nigeria, has said the allegations are without merit.
Nigeria’s central bank on Aug. 29 ordered the South African firm and its lenders to bring $8.1 billion back into Nigeria that it alleges the company sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations. MTN also faces a $2 billion tax demand from the country’s attorney general.
At the adjourned hearing in December, MTN will make its case to stop the central bank asking for the return to Nigeria of the $8.1 billion.
A separate hearing between MTN and the attorney general over the alleged $2 billion unpaid tax bill has been scheduled for Nov 8 at the same court. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha and Didi Akinyelure Writing by Paul Carsten; editing by John Stonestreet and Kirsten Donovan)