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French telecommunications and media group Vivendi Universal SA said Tuesday it is suing Deutsche Telekom AG for pulling out of a deal to buy Polish mobile company Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa last year. Vivendi’s lawsuit — the latest in a struggle between the French and German companies over Poland’s largest mobile operator — accuses the German telecommunications giant of “wrongful termination” of talks on a possible buyout of a 51 percent stake in PTC. After a year of negotiations, Vivendi claims Deutsche Telekom abandoned a tentative deal to buy the majority stake, held jointly by Vivendi and Polish power conglomerate Elektrim. “Vivendi Universal considers this sudden withdrawal to have been motivated by Deutsche Telekom’s wish to appropriate the shares of PTC at the lowest possible cost using methods which Vivendi regards as unlawful,” the company said. Vivendi said the lawsuit includes a claim for damages for the “loss of value in its investment in Poland” resulting from the breakdown, which it estimates at 2.2 billion euros ($2.8 billion). Deutsche Telekom did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the new accusations. Paris-based Vivendi is already taking legal action in Poland, where it is challenging earlier court rulings on the governance of PTC and accusing Elektrim and Deutsche Telekom officials of “using false documents” to appoint directors to its board and squeeze Vivendi out. Deutsche Telekom dismissed the new lawsuit as “the latest in a series of futile attempts” by Vivendi to reverse a ruling by a Vienna arbitration panel, which found in favor of the Polish and German shareholders late last year. “Deutsche Telekom will evaluate each of these allegations individually,” spokesman Michael Lange said. “However based on today’s position we can say that the action is legally unfounded.” Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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