Squire Patton Boggs has won a victory for Frucona Kosice in the European Court of Justice, which denied an appeal brought by the European Commission regarding its decision to block Slovak Republic aid to the alcoholic spirits company.
The EU General Court had found in favor of Frucona Kosice in March 2016 but the European Commission appealed the decision up to the ECJ.
According to Squire Patton Boggs, "dating back more than a decade regarding a tax settlement between Frucona Kosice and the local tax office in October 2004, the European Commission had previously found a write-off of tax debt to be incompatible with EU state-aid rules. A complaint was lodged with the Commission alleging unlawful state aid. While the Court had previously ruled in Frucona Kosice’s favor, it sent the decision back to the General Court for a further assessment. The Commission then adopted a new decision that sought to correct the errors identified by the Court. After a victory for Frucona Kosice in the General Court in March 2016, the Commission again appealed to the European Court of Justice. The Commission was previously ordered to cover its own costs, as well as those of Frucona Kosice, including any costs incurred in connection with the proceedings for interim measures, which has been upheld along with the appeal’s dismissal."
Tatiana Prokopova, Managing partner of Squire Patton Boggs' Bratislava office, said: “This has been a long journey to finally put this matter to rest for Frucona Kosice. After a decade of work on this case, we are delighted to have been successful in protecting the interests of our client. This complex case, with many of its twists and turns, demonstrates our ability to combine our local legal expertise with that of our colleagues in Brussels to ensure a truly winning formula. We look forward to continuing to represent the interests of our clients in Slovakia and across the EU.”
The Squire Patton Boggs legal team on the case was led by Partners Brian Hartnett, global co-chair of the firm's Competition-Antitrust Practice, and Oliver Geiss, both in Brussels, supported by Will Sparks and Anthony Bochon. In the firm’s Bratislava office, overseeing the work in the Slovak Republic, the team was led by Tatiana Prokopova, with support from Associate Jakub Kamenicky.
According to Squire Patton Boggs, Frucona Kosice is a long-time client of Partner Lubos Tichy in the firm’s Prague office.