Bangladesh's leading cellphone companies in legal tussle

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh's two leading cellphone companies are negotiating with a regulator over claims of more than $1.5 billion in unpaid taxes as they face threats of losing their licenses amid a legal battle that could hurt investor confidence.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has asked Grameenphone, a subsidiary of Norwegian telecom giant Telenor, and Robi, an entity with majority shares owned by Malaysia's Axiata Group Berhad, to pay about $1.52 billion and threatened to cancel their license if they fail to do so.

On Wednesday, Grameenphone officials met with Bangladesh's finance minister to try to resolve the case.

The two companies say the audits by the BTRC are flawed.

The regulator has accused the companies of evading spectrum fees, value added tax and revenue since December 2014.