Vivendi hits T-Mobile with racketeering suit

French conglomerate Vivendi said Tuesday that it has filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) complaint in federal court in the State of Washington, alleging that T-Mobile has illegally appropriated Vivendi’s holding in a Polish operator.

The move highlights how ugly the situation in Poland is becoming as both Vivendi and T-Mobile parent, Deutsche Telekom, fight to protect their respective interests in Polish mobileco Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (PTC).

Named in the complaint are T-Mobile USA, T-Mobile Germany, Deutsche Telekom and Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, who controls Polish utility Elektrim, which is Vivendi’s joint venture partner for its investment in PTC, which the French firm claims is worth $2.5bn (£1.3bn).

In the allegations, Vivendi claims that T-Mobile colluded with Solorz-Zak in a pattern of racketeering activity over US wires to take over PTC.

DT and Vivendi have battled over ownership of PTC in court for several years, with each twist and turn of the proceedings creating further uncertainty over the future of the Polish firm.

Elektrim filed for bankruptcy in late September, following which, Deutsche Telekom announced that it had paid out Eur600m (£405m) in respect to a call option allowing it to buy Elektrim’s 48 per cent holding in PTC.

Deutsche Telekom owns 49 per cent of PTC, while Vivendi claims ownership of 51 per cent of PTC through a joint venture with Polish utility Elektrim.

But a Warsaw court last year ruled that Elektrim itself and not the joint venture is actually the holder of 48 per cent of the 51 per cent stake.

“Vivendi asks the court for a simple remedy: give us back our money or our PTC shares,” said Vivendi.

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