Kuwait's Zain says court lifts freeze on Iraq earnings

Move coomes after a $4.5 billion lawsuit against the telco was dismissed earlier this month

An Iraqi court has lifted a freeze on revenues of Zain Iraq, the company's Kuwaiti parent Zain said on Tuesday, after a $4.5 billion lawsuit against the Iraqi firm was dismissed earlier this month.

A statement to the Kuwaiti bourse said the court had issued a decision on July 13 to lift "judicial guardianship of the aforementioned revenues".

In April, Zain revealed that its Iraqi unit was being sued by a local telecommunications firm over the $1.2 billion acquisition of rival operator Iraqna from Egypt's Orascom Telecom in 2007. The unidentified plaintiff also sought damages from Iraq's telecommunications regulator, the Communications and Media Commission (CMC).

An Iraqi court in January ordered Zain Iraq's revenue from subscribers obtained through buying Iraqna to be placed under a legal guardian and in an Iraqi bank until the case was resolved.

Last week, however, Zain said an Iraqi court had dismissed the case against both Zain Iraq and the CMC. This cleared the way for Zain Iraq to apply for the freeze on its money to be lifted.

Iraqna had about 3 million subscribers at the time of Zain's acquisition, while Zain Iraq accounted for 40 percent of its parent's first-quarter revenue this year.

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