Thales loses appeal against Taiwan compensation claim
A French court ordered defence giant Thales to pay the Taiwanese navy more than 500 million dollars on Thursday, rejecting the group's appeal against a 2010 abritration ruling.
In April last year an arbitration panel employed by two parties to settle their differences found that the French firm had wrongly paid commissions to intermediaries to secure a huge warship contract.
Thales appealed the private panel's decision in a civil court, but on Thursday its complaint was thrown out, leaving it facing a bill of at least 591 million dollars plus interest and legal fees.
The French defence and electronics firm signed the original contract to supply Taiwan with six Horizon-class frigates in 1991. The deal specifically excluded the payment of sweeteners to go-betweens.
Thales can still appeal the latest ruling -- which was based not on a re-examination of the case itself but on the conduct of the arbitration -- in France's top appeal court, the Court of Cassation.
It was not immediately clear whether it would do so.
© 2011 AFP