EU rejects digital-TV subsidy appeal from Berlusconi

The European Union’s court has thrown out an appeal from a digital-TV company owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, ordering it and other broadcasters to pay back possibly millions of Euros in illegal state aid. The ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) orders his government to claim money back from his family’s company, Mediaset.

The General Court, the ECJ’s lower chamber, “dismisses the action in its entirety” and holds that the state aid in question “confers an indirect advantage on digital terrestrial broadcasters to the detriment of satellite broadcasters,” a court statement said.

The case dates back to 2004, when the Italian government offered a subsidy of E150 to anyone who bought or rented a TV-top box for DTT.

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