SBS Broadcasting Complaint Against Greece Acted Upon By European Commission

July 20, 2005

Cleary Gottlieb successfully filed a complaint with the European Commission on behalf of SBS Broadcasting against a Greek law requiring media companies to disclose the identity of their shareholders to the level of the individuals ultimately holding the shares. The Commission commenced an infringement proceeding against Greece on the basis of Cleary Gottlieb’s complaint.

Cleary Gottlieb filed a complaint with the Commission on March 16 arguing that the law, which was designed to combat media corruption and concentration, infringes the European Community Treaty provisions on freedom of establishment and free movement of capital. Since SBS is listed on Nasdaq and Euronext, it is unable to identify the ultimate individual persons who own its shares and accordingly was at risk of losing its Athens radio station license because of noncompliance with the law.

Because the disputed law is one of the cornerstones of the new Greek government’s anti-corruption program, the filing of the complaint was highly publicized.