Greek court rules deliberations in suit against Reuters invalid

Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:54pm EDT
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ATHENS, March 28 (Reuters) - A Greek court has ruled deliberations in a lawsuit by Piraeus Bank against Reuters over a story it published were inadmissible on technical grounds.

The ruling, obtained by Reuters on Thursday, also postponed deliberations against a second defendant in the case - reporter Stephen Grey who wrote the article.

Piraeus Bank last year sought damages of 50 million euros when it sued the news agency and Grey over a story on property deals between the bank and companies linked to the family of its non-executive chairman.

In the lawsuit it accused Reuters of malicious defamation and of wishing "to harm the entire Greek banking system."

Reuters is a unit of Thomson Reuters Corp.

The ruling said it was not clear whether the right legal entity had been convoked in the case against Thomson Reuters Corp. since several companies with similar names were headquartered in London and New York.

"It has not been determined which company was notified and it has in no case been proven that the defendant was legally summoned to appear and therefore, in line with above reasoning, the discussion over the lawsuit must be declared inadmissible regarding the first defendant," the ruling said.

Piraeus Bank in an emailed statement said: "We acknowledge the Athens Court's announcement of yesterday, and that the Court expressed no judgment on the substance of the case. A ruling on the litigation is therefore still pending."

Reuters Global Head of Communications, Barb Burg, said: "The Court dismissed the bank's case on a technicality, because the bank failed to properly bring Reuters into the case. Equally important, however, the bank has not proven its case against Reuters or that the article at issue contained any falsehoods or inaccuracies. We continue to stand by our reporting."   Continued...