European top court backs Dutch bank ING over state aid

BRUSSELS, April 3 Thu Apr 3, 2014 5:18am EDT

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BRUSSELS, April 3 (Reuters) - Dutch bank and insurer ING has won a final court ruling against the European Commission over the repayment terms of its 10 billion euro ($13.77 billion) bailout, as Europe's highest court upheld an earlier verdict.

The Commission had argued that the cheaper repayment terms ING received after the bailout at the height of the credit crunch in 2008 constituted a further 2 billion euros of state aid.

The European Court of Justice, Europe's highest court, confirmed an earlier verdict, ruling that this additional aid was part of the bailout and did not qualify as competition distorting state aid.

Europe's second-highest court, the Luxembourg-based General Court, had said in 2012 that the European Commission, as a state aid regulator, had failed to show that extra aid granted to the Dutch group gave it an advantage over rivals.

Had the Commission won the case, it could have asked ING to make further divestments. ($1 = 0.7263 Euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Tom Pfeiffer)

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