Advanced Television

Rivada Networks wins legal action

November 22, 2023

A Washington DC Court has ruled decisively in favour of Rivada Networks in its long-running dispute with former partner Kleo AG.

CEO Declan Ganley released the transcript of a legal action between Kleo AG which alleged defamation and was heard before the US District Court in Washington DC. Rivada has won the case.

The background was that on June 9th 2022, Kleo AG filed a complaint against Rivada asserting claims of defamation and tortious interference with contracts. Rivada moved to dismiss the action. The Second Complaint alleges that on May 20th 2022 – several months after Rivada’s statements – “the Liechtenstein Office of Communication approved the transfer of the relevant spectrum frequency rights from TRION to Rivada AG and Rivada GmbH […] causing specific pecuniary harm to Kleo, in an amount to be later proven” and about “[Swiss Francs] 350,000 in legal fees,” state the Court documents.

“These other allegations suggest that Kleo lost its frequency rights because of Rivada’s corporate manoeuvring before its allegedly defamatory statements on March 22nd 2022. They also support an inference that KLEO’s business relationships suffered because of its loss of frequency rights, not because of Rivada’s statements. Aside from the above, no other allegations causally link Rivada’s statements and KLEO’s loss of frequency rights,” stated the Court documents.

The Court held that, even assuming Rivada’s “statements are verifiably false and capable of defamatory meaning,” Kleo failed to allege an element of defamation: namely, that Rivada’s statements were actionable as a matter of law or caused special harm (i.e., special damages).

The Court also dismissed Kleo’s allegations of tortious interference. The Court granted Rivada’s motion to dismiss the claims because Kleo had failed to state a claim for defamation.

In other words, US District Judge Dabney Friedrich, has comprehensively ruled in Rivada’s favour and denied Kleo any further appeal or amendment attempts. “Granting Kleo a fourth attempt to satisfy the heightened pleading requirements would thus prove futile,” stated Judge Friedrich.

In September Rivada gained firm support from the German government which prohibited the attempt of a hostile takeover of the German satellite company Kleo Connect GmbH (Munich-based) by its Chinese state-owned majority shareholders Shanghai Spacecom Satellite Technology (SSST). SSST and CED (a Chinese-owned Liechtenstein entity) which together own around 53 per cent of Kleo; Rivada and its partner eightyLEO own 47 per cent.

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