EUROPEAN UNION

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

EUROPEAN UNION

France to Seek Cut in Fuel Tax

France plans to ask its European partners to suspend part of the value-added tax on fuel, President Nicolas Sarkozy said. Lowering the VAT on fuel would help counterbalance the high prices at the pump, Sarkozy said. Sarkozy said he would ask the other countries because a decision to lower the VAT "must be European."

BELGIUM

Damages Sought From Google

French-language newspapers in Belgium said they want Google to pay as much as $77 million in damages for publishing and storing their content without permission.

Copiepresse, a consortium of newspapers, said in a summons that Google had violated Belgian copyright law by reproducing and publishing part of newspapers' stories and by storing the full versions of archived stories in its cached pages.

ITALY

Parmalat Loses Bid for Mistrial

Parmalat, the Italian dairy company that collapsed in 2003, lost its bid for a mistrial in a lawsuit against Citigroup after the bank failed to turn over documents in a timely manner.

N.J. Superior Court Judge Jonathan Harris denied Parmalat's request for a new trial while saying the late production of 4,300 pages of documents was "embarrassing" to Citigroup. Jurors began hearing claims on May 15 by Parmalat chief executive Enrico Bondi that Citigroup abetted looting by Parmalat employees.

FRANCE

Chairman Defends SocGen

Societe Generale chiefs faced boos and jeers at a shareholders meeting while defending the French bank's response to one of the world's largest trading scandals, which caused a loss of more than $7 billion.

Chairman Daniel Bouton insisted that the alleged fraud the bank has blamed on former trader Jerome Kerviel was an "isolated" event -- and does not reflect the heart of the bank's trading activities.

Compiled from reports by Washington Post staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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