ISTANBUL, March 28 (Reuters) - A Caribbean court has ruled in favour of Turkey’s Cukurova Holding in a case related to a long-running dispute over the ownership of mobile phone company Turkcell, Cukurova said on Thursday.
It said the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court lifted restrictions imposed this month on locally-registered units in which Turkcell shareholder Cukurova owns stakes and through which it exerts control of Turkcell.
Sweden’s TeliaSonera, the largest shareholder in Turkcell, said it would appeal against the decision.
The restrictions had meant British Virgin Islands-registered Cukurova Telecom Holdings Ltd, which controls Turkcell and in which Cukurova has a 51 pct stake, was prohibited from any deal affecting the ownership of the stake.
“The appeals court decided on March 27... to lift the restrictions imposed on Cukurova Holding A.S.,” Cukurova said.
TeliaSonera’s dispute with Cukurova dates back to 2005 when the Swedish group, which has a 37 percent stake in Turkcell, agreed to buy Cukurova’s stake in Turkcell for $3.1 billion.
Cukurova backed out of the deal, leaving TeliaSonera to try and force it to cough up the shares and seek damages.
TeliaSonera has the largest direct and indirect stake in Turkcell, amounting to 37 percent, but Cukurova controls Turkcell through a complex shareholder structure.
In another Turkcell dispute, Britain’s Privy Council ruled on Jan. 30 that Russian shareholder Altimo had been entitled to appropriate a 13.8 percent stake held by Cukurova after it defaulted on a $1.35 billion loan.
The court ruled Cukurova had a right to repay the debt and recover the shares. The Privy Council is expected to make a final decision in the coming weeks on the terms under which Cukurova could recover the disputed stake. (Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Erica Billingham)