Iraq's Communications and Media Commission (CMC) has ordered mobile operator Korek Telecom to pay $800 million to resolve an ongoing dispute over unpaid dues.

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According to the regulator's CEO Ali Al-Moaed, the amount covers fees of licenses and equipment used by the company plus other dues that have been left unpaid for years.

It's been a tough time for Korek in recent months, with the operator told in March that it owes $1.65 billion to Iraq Telecom Limited (ITL) in damages as part of an arbitration case.

The case itself was focused on Korek, which is an Iraqi-Kurdish mobile phone operator, and its founder Sirwan Barzani.

It's a case that dates back to 2011 when ITL – a joint venture between Orange Group and Agility – secured a 44 percent stake in Korek Telecom after receiving approvals from the CMC.

However, later that year Korek took out a $150 million loan from Lebanon’s IBL Bank, but never notified ITL or Agility of this move, which led to the annulment of the acquisition of the holding in Korek before it was taken away completely in 2019. Agility was also a former shareholder in Korek.

Founded in 2000, Korek serves all 18 Iraqi provinces, most notably the northern part of the country. The operator claims to have more than seven million mobile subscribers.