ECJ cancels order for Credit Mutuel to repay state aid

18th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Jan 18 (AFP) - The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has annulled a 2002 decision by the European Commission which ordered the French bank Credit Mutuel to repay EUR 164 million (USD 213 million) judged to be illegal state aid.

BRUSSELS, Jan 18 (AFP) - The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has annulled a 2002 decision by the European Commission which ordered the French bank Credit Mutuel to repay EUR 164 million (USD 213 million) judged to be illegal state aid.

The case concerned Credit Mutuel's exclusive right to operate Livret Bleu savings accounts in France.

"The commission's decision of 15 January 2002 concerning state aid from the Republic of France in favour of Credit Mutuel is annulled," said the court.

The EU's most powerful judges, based at the ECJ in Luxembourg, came down on the side of Credit Mutuel after concluding that the commission had not sufficiently justified its decision.

The commission had argued that member states were only allowed to award public service contracts to companies if the remuneration did not exceed the net costs of the operation.

The French government was accused of granting illegal state aid to Credit Mutuel by paying the bank over the odds for the operation of Livret Bleu, or tax-exempt savings accounts, in France.

Credit Mutuel appealed the decision in March 2002.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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