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CASCADE RS, an IT platform through which it provides clearing and settlement services for registered shares issued in Germany, for more than two years till November 2001. Also, between January 1997 and January 2004, Clearstream charged a higher per transaction price to Euroclear Bank than to other security depositories outside Germany. The Commission recognized that both behaviors constituted an abuse of dominant position in terms of refusal to supply and price discrimination, which impaired Euroclear Bank’s ability to provide a comprehensive and innovative pan-European service in the downstream market for cross border clearing and settlement of EU securities. The negative decision was adopted although the infringements had already come to an end in order to clarify the legal situation in an evolving and important market for European integration like clearing and settlement services.

6.5. State aid State aid includes all forms of guarantees granted directly by the State, i.e., by central, regional or local authorities, and by undertakings under the dominant influence of public authorities. It is in this area that stability and competition considerations come directly into play. State intervention typically takes the form of public ownership or financial support in the form of the lender of last resort, taxpayers’ money or transfer of assets. This is particularly likely in countries where the State is used to intervene in the banking sector like France, Germany and Italy.

A central case of state aid in the banking sector analyzed by the Commission was the rescue through a serious of complicated bailouts of the state-owned Credit Lyonnais (CL)

  • the largest French bank at the time - by the French authorities in the years 1994-1997.

The problems of CL originated from an accumulation of bad projects that eventually threatened the company's solvency with losses of FRF 1,8 and 6,9 billion in 1992 and 1993, respectively. Examples of such projects were a "major office block development in the northern French town of Lille that helped local politicians to regenerate the town but then proved difficult to let" [ERisk.com], and the purchase of the US insurance company Executive Life, which, according to US authorities, was in violation of regulations. A further dubious operation was the financing of the purchase of two film production

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