The Paris Civil Court has refused an Italian lawyer’s demand to receive 5.2 million EUR of Vietnam Airlines that is kept in the Paris Lawyers Bar’s account, the national flag carrier said on March 28.

Vietnam Airlines said it received the verdict from the Paris Civil Court on March 11, which is a positive sign in a 17-year lawsuit between the airline and Maurizio Liberati, a former lawyer of Vietnam Airlines’ former agent in Italy.

Lawyer Maurizio Liberati was hire in 1992 by the airline’s agent in Italy , the Falcomar Co., Liberati claimed that he provided professional services to the airline pursuant to his agreement with Falcomar. When Liberati was sacked by Falcomar, he took both agent and Vietnam Airlines to court, and demanded comensation for his unpaid wage amounting to 537 million ITL (4.3 million EUR).

Under the contact between Vietnam Airlines and Falcomar Co., the agent in Italy was only authorised to sell tickets for Vietnam Airlines and the airline was not taking any responsibility for any other contacts/agreements signed by Falcomar Co.

However, in November 1994, Vietnam Airlines received a summon from the Rome lower court attached with a translation version of the petition by Maurizio Liberati as plaintiff, asking the airline to attend the Roma lower court on November 20, 1995.

As it believed it had no link whatsoever with Liberati , Vietnam Airlines did not attend the hearing on November 30, 1995.

The carrier only learnt about the hearing’s ruling seven years later when in May 2002, it received a translation version of a letter from Liberati demanding payment of compensation and a copy of the Rome Court’s verdict issued on March 7, 2000, requiring the carrier to pay 4.3 million EUR within 30 days.

In February 2004, Vietnam Airlines received a notice from the French committee for debt payment and seizure, announcing that it had frozen more than 1.33 million EUR in the carrier’s BSP account in Italy in order to execute the March 7, 2000 verdict. The sum Vietnam Airlines was order to pay came to 5.185 million EUR.

For many years, Vietnam Airlines sent its complaints to the Rome Appeal and the Paris Court , but on December 16, 2008, the Rome Appeal Court issued a decision to dismissing the airline’s appeal.

Vietnam Airlines said it will continue to work closely with Vietnamese relevant ministries and agencies and follow the lawsuit to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the firm and State./.