Regulator freezes Zain Iraq's funds - report

Unpaid fine related to unregistered sims issue provokes action from regulator
Zain Iraq's local funds have been frozen over an unpaid fine.
Zain Iraq's local funds have been frozen over an unpaid fine.

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Iraq's media and telecoms regulator has frozen all of Zain Iraq's funds held in local banks over an unpaid fine, according to a report from AFP.

The telco is currently in negotiations with the regulator over the size of the fine, which was originally set at $262 million in April 2011. The fine was issued because Zain allegedly issued 5 million sim cards without regulatory approval.

"We have frozen the funds of Zain in Iraqi banks only. They have appealed the fine,” Ahmed al-Omari, a CMC commissioner, told AFP.

"We are in negotiations with them, and they have given very good responses. They said they are willing to pay the fine, but the difference is over the amount of the fine."

Omari said he expected the dispute to be resolved in the coming days, the report added.

In a statement posted on the Kuwait bourse website, Zain Group said that it was in contact with the Iraqi regulator and that talks were ongoing.

The incident is the latest in a line of problems to beset Zain Iraq. In July, the operator was handed a fine of $12,864 a day from September 2011 for failing to list on the country's stock exchange, according to a report from Reuters.

In August, Zain Iraq’s CEO, Emad Makiya, resigned after two years in the role.

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