France Telecom denies Tunisian corruption allegations

France Telecom’s Orange has denied media reports that it secured its mobile operating license in Tunisia by means of corruption.

According to reports, although Orange paid the US$180 million license fee, it did not go to the government as planned, but was invested in a company owned by a daughter of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and her husband Marwan Mabrouk.

Citing a statement posted on Twitter, reports stated that the company claimed the article was based on erroneous information that is a serious attack on the reputation of the group. Taking into account the seriousness of the accusations, Orange is studying all of its legal options to defend its interests and image in order to be able to calmly pursue its activities in Tunisia.

The company was awarded its operating license in June 2009. The company is 51% owned by Investec, a Tunisian subsidiary of the Mabrouk group, while Orange holds the remaining 49% of the joint venture. The company was also granted 3G licenses late last year.

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