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Zimbabwe's Econet asks court to suspend warrant in money laundering case

Zimbabwean mobile phone operator Econet Wireless on Monday sought a court order to suspend a police warrant seeking information on its transactions because this would violate the privacy of the company and millions of its subscribers.

HARARE, July 20 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean mobile phone operator Econet Wireless ECO.ZI on Monday sought a court order to suspend a police warrant seeking information on its transactions because this would violate the privacy of the company and millions of its subscribers.

The police on Friday requested Econet, which has more than 11 million subscribers, to hand over details of its mobile money transactions and subscribers because authorities suspect its network was used to conduct money laundering.

In an urgent High Court application, Econet said the warrant should be suspended while the court determines its legality at a full hearing in future.

"The warrant of search and seizure is unlawful and constitutes a violation of the applicant's right to privacy and also the right of privacy of the applicant's subscribers," the company said in the court filing.

Econet argued that the police warrant was too wide in its scope, which made it unconstitutional.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government has already suspended some of Econet's mobile money transactions saying they were fuelling the black market trade for foreign currency.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; editing by Jason Neely)

((macdonald.dzirutwe@thomsonreuters.com; +263 4 799 112; Reuters Messaging: macdonald.dzirutwe.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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