European court rules against FT in state aid appeal case

9 Dec 2011

The European Union’s (EU’s) Court of Justice yesterday ruled that France Telecom-Orange benefited illegally from state aid between 1994 and 2002, and rejected an appeal by the Paris-based telco against a lower court ruling in 2004. In its earlier ruling the General Court found that France Telecom-Orange paid less business tax than it should have in the period under review, and that this constituted illegal state aid. Although the operator has repaid over EUR1 billion arising from the matter, the Court of Justice ruling said: ‘The Court confirms the judgment of the General Court finding that France Telecom benefited from state aid incompatible with the common market each year from 1994 to 2002.’ Further, the Luxembourg-based court adds that the ‘Commission’s decision finding that that aid existed and ordering its recovery is valid.’

France, Orange Group