France to try ex-Yahoo! boss in Nazi auction case

17th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 17 (AFP) - The Paris court of appeal ruled Wednesday that it is competent to hear the case against former Yahoo! boss Timothy Koogle who was acquitted a year ago of illegally selling Nazi memorabilia over the Internet.

PARIS, March 17 (AFP) - The Paris court of appeal ruled Wednesday that it is competent to hear the case against former Yahoo! boss Timothy Koogle who was acquitted a year ago of illegally selling Nazi memorabilia over the Internet.

The decision means the appeal hearing will go ahead later this year.

Koogle, who headed the US Internet company from 1995 to 2001, was brought to court by the Association of Auschwitz Deportees, which said he had broken French laws that ban the exhibition of Nazi uniforms and insignia.

Wednesday's hearing centred on arguments over what jurisdictions should apply to Internet companies that sell transnationally over auction sites.

Koogle's lawyer said that if French law could be invoked simply because the Yahoo! Internet site was available in France, then by the same token all jurisdictions in the world could be brought to bear.

But for the state prosecutor's office, which brought the appeal against Koogle's acquittal, the logical conclusion of this argument was that no laws at all could be made to apply to an Internet company -- which was clearly untenable.

The court agreed.

The row over auctions of Nazi memorabilia led to a civil court decision in 2000 obliging Yahoo! to install software filters to prevent French access to the site.

The lower court cleared Koogle in February 2003, ruling there was no evidence for the two crimes with which he was charged: "justifying a crime against humanity," and "exhibiting a uniform, insignia or emblem of a person guilty of crimes against humanity".

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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