France Telecom pays up EC tab

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PARIS -- France Telecom will pay €755 million ($1.1 billion) in escrow after the European Commission ordered it to repay state aid it received, the Gallic telecommunications company said Thursday.

"Under these circumstances, France Telecom has decided to place €755 million in an escrow account pending the final decision on the substance of the matter," the group said in a statement.

This marks the first attempt by the French government to recover the aid, originally paid out from 1991-2002.

The money will be returned to France Telecom if the decision is overturned by the European Court of First Instance, or transferred to the French government if not. In either case, the transfer of these funds according to France Telecom, "does not impact the organic cash-flow of the Group."
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