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SC cancels CPC penalty to CYTA

27/01/2004 13:40
The Supreme Court decided unanimously on Monday to cancel the decision of the Competition Protection Committee to impose a fine of £20 million for overcharges in telecom fees by CYTA, “due to inadequate composition of the Committee”.

The Supreme Court’s decision is expected to force the government to return the £20mln it collected from CYTA, as the latter has already paid the penalty. “It is likely, however, that the government will proceed to the proper arrangements with the company for their return”, CYTA Chairman, Stavros Kremmos told StockWatch.

CYTA feels justified

Speaking from London, Mr. Kremmos welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court and condemned the decision of the Competition Protection Committee to impose an administrative fine, describing it as “exaggerated”.

The Board of Directors of CYTA will meet at 4 pm to examine issues resulting from the decision of the Supreme Court.


Meanwhile, Chairman of the Competition Protection Committee, Christodoulos Tsielepos expressed his respect on the decision of the Court, but stressed that this was not based on the substance of the case but on procedural issues.

The decision

After the imposition of a fine of £20 million by the CPC, CYTA appealed to the Supreme Court, questioning the Committee’s right to control the telecom duties, the constitutionality of its existence and its capability of imposing administrative fines. CYTA also questioned “the composition of the Committee during the procedure of the decision taking”.

The Supreme Court examined the issue of composition and decided that “the decision was taken by a Committee that lacked competency, due to inadequate composition”.

According to the 17-page decision, the composition of the Committee was not full or the same during the examination of the case. Specifically, the composition of CPC on August 26, 2002 (when CYTA was deemed guilty for abuse of dominant position) was not the same as this on August 25, when the Committee decided to impose an administrative fine.

Case law for banks

The decision of the Supreme Court does not seem to affect the examination of the case on the banking cartel, since the objections of the banks concern the formation of a Committee and not its composition.

However, the decision can be a case law for the baking cartel: “Our objections were to the formation, not the composition of the CPC. The composition of the Committee was full, but not the same”, lawyer of the Popular Bank, said Nicos Papaefstathiou.