SingTel gets an Aug 24 court date

The island's biggest telco and its telecommunications regulator will meet in the Singapore high court on the morning of August 24 for a pretrial hearing on their S$388m (US$219m) suit.

SINGAPORE--The island's biggest telco and its telecommunications regulator will meet in the Singapore high court on the morning of August 24 for a pretrial hearing on their S$388 million (US$219 million) suit. Court documents state that the hearing is scheduled for 10.15am.

Last month, the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) slapped the suit on Singapore Telecoms Ltd, to get back S$388 million (US$219 million), along with interest and other unspecified costs, from the S$1.5 billion (US$845 million) it paid the telco. The money was given as compensation for liberalizing the telecommunications industry on April 1 2000, two years earlier than previously agreed.

IDA claims that the cash was for a tax provision "mistakenly included in the S$1.5 billion (US$845 million) compensation paid to SingTel".

However, according to Bloomberg, the IDA also said last September that the amount it paid to SingTel might have been too low, as it did not consider the rapid growth in data traffic.

Last October 9, SingTel released a statement claiming it was entitled to the entire S$1.5 billion (US$845 million) payout as "it also assumed the risks on the tax treatment of the compensation".

Drew & Napier will argue the case for IDA, with Allen & Gledhill representing SingTel.

SingTel shares closed at S$1.89 yesterday, up S$0.11.

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