JOHANNESBURG Aug 30 (Reuters) - Shares in MTN Group plunged as much as 19 percent early on Thursday, a day after Nigeria ordered the South African telecoms group and its bankers to return $8.1 billion.

Nigeria's central bank said the funds had been illegally moved abroad. MTN denies the allegations.

At 0713 GMT, the stock was down 14 percent at 92.12 rand, recouping some of the losses after falling to a low of 86.99 rand. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng Editing by Joe Brock)