In April 2009 the National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) issued a decision imposing a fine of €1.5 million on Greek incumbent OTE SA for its failure to provide, within the deadline, information requested by a previous EETT decision. In setting the amount of the fine, the EETT took into account the fact that OTE had repeatedly failed to comply with the obligations set down by the applicable legislation.
On appeal, in its Ruling 752/2010 the Athens Administrative Court of Appeals confirmed the EETT's findings and held that a failure to provide in a timely manner information requested by the EETT, within the framework of evaluing the incumbent's cost models, could have a negative effect on the proper operation of the telecommunications market and the enhancement of competition.
The court rejected OTE's defence, which claimed that the principle of impartiality had been infringed due to the participation of the president and the vice president of the EETT in both the fact-finding and decision-making procedures. The court also rejected the claim that OTE's rights of defence had been infringed by the non-disclosure of a document submitted by the Hearing Committee to the EETT, which contained the findings and recommendations of the Hearing Committee. Similarly, the court rejected as unfounded the arguments citing objective impediments to the provision of the requested information within the deadline.
However, the court did reduce the fine imposed on OTE to €1 million, taking into account the fact that the provision of certain information required revision of the account separation records and adjustments to OTE's cost-calculation model. In fact, the court rejected the argument that as a result of the failure to submit the requested information on time, the EETT, as the telecommunications supervisory authority, was obliged to base its findings on data measuring the negative impact on the proper operation of the market and the enhancement of competition.
For further information on this topic please contact Themistoklis K Giannakopoulos at Avramopoulos & Partners by telephone (+30 210 691 2200), fax (+30 210 691 1211) or email ([email protected]).