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PTC ownership struggle gets ugly

French conglomerate Vivendi said Tuesday that it has filed a criminal complaint against German carrier Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Polish utility Elektrim.

The move highlights how ugly the situation in Poland is becoming as both Vivendi and DT fight to protect their respective interests in Polish mobileco Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (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.

Vivendi said Tuesday that it had filed suit in order to “protect its rights as a creditor in the framework of the bankruptcy proceedings of Elektrim and prevent any illegal transfer of PTC shares.”

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.

In its latest legal assault, Vivendi alleges that Elektrim and Deutsche Telekom “conducted secret and illegal negotiations with certain creditors of Elektrim in order to permit Deutsche Telekom to exercise a call option over the PTC shares.”

The French group maintains that giving preferential treatment to one group of creditors over another while a company is headed for bankruptcy is in contravention of Polish law.

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