EU legal advisor backs FT in anticompetitive behaviour appeal

26 Sep 2008

MarketWatch reports that a legal adviser to Europe’s highest court has recommended that a lower court decision to uphold a EUR10.35 million (USD15 billion) fine imposed on French incumbent France Telecom (FT) for anticompetitive behaviour should be overturned. Advocate General Jan Mazak of the European Court of Justice adjudged that the case should be sent back to the Court of First Instance to be reheard. In his opinion ‘The Court of First Instance breached its duty to provide reasons [for its findings], coupled with an error of law. The judgment under appeal should therefore be set aside.’ Although the advocate general’s findings are not legally binding, the advisor’s opinion is usually adopted in four out of five cases, MarketWatch says.

FT’s internet service provider (ISP) Wanadoo was fined in 2003 after the European Commission decided it had abused its dominant position in the market. The telco appealed the ruling in the European Court of First Instance but was unsuccessful. The company subsequently filed a second appeal on legal grounds to the European Court of Justice.

France, Orange Group