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EU court cuts Lithuanian Rail's EU antitrust fine by a third

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Lithuanian Rail on Wednesday had its 27.9 million euro (24.9 million pounds) EU antitrust fine cut by a third though Europe’s second-top court backed EU enforcers’ ruling that it had hindered competition by removing a track running to Latvia.

The European Commission in its 2017 decision said it was unacceptable that the operator removed the 19-kilometre (12 mile) stretch of track in 2008 after Polish oil company PKN Orlen wanted to redirect its freight to Latvian ports from its refinery in Lithuania by using another rail operator and a short route to the border.

Lithuanian Rail subsequently challenged the ruling at the Luxembourg-based General Court. Judges took the EU competition enforcer’s side.

“The Commission made no error in determining that removal of a railway track before the renovation works had even begun constituted highly unusual conduct in the rail sector,” the court said.

It however cut the fine to 20.07 million euros, citing its jurisdiction in this area and the gravity and duration of the operator’s wrongdoing.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Louise Heavens

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