• May 28, 2023

Rcs, building in via Solferino: it was not usury. Now the word to the American judge

A new rejection for Rcs in the long judicial dispute with the US fund Blackstone on the sale of the building of via Solferino in Milan, seat of the Corriere della Sera. There Court of Appeal of Milan rejected the appeal that the group led by Urban Cairo had made against the arbitration awards, or the first decisions to have dismantled the accusations of usury made by RCS. And it is an even harsher pronouncement that arrived yesterday from the judges of the first civil section (Raineri, Apostoliti and Milone), who, in addition to imposing legal costs on the publishing company, in one passage left open the possibility that “any” damages suffered “can be asserted elsewhere” by Blackstone.

The lawyers of the Corriere della Sera publishing group had complained that the purchase by Blackstone in 2013 of the building for 120 million euros and the rent for 10.4 million a year had been concluded at too low a price. , dictated by the economic and financial difficulties of the RCS group, and therefore to be considered flawed by «usury». A hypothesis dismantled by the arbitrators and now also by the Court of Appeal. For the judges of the first civil section, that of RCS was not a “reckless quarrel», But the complaints about« alleged defects in the motivation of the awards »turned out to be« completely without foundation ».

After the filing in the criminal court he had further rejected the hypothesis of usury, in the Italian judicial process for RCS the last door of the appeal to the Cassation remains open. A road that, however, after yesterday’s sentence, appears almost impassable. The next hearing is now awaited before the Supreme Court of New York, scheduled for 25 July. Judge Andrea Masley will acquire the ruling of the Milan Court of Appeal pending ruling on the jurisdictional question, or whether it should be the New York court to deal with the case or not. It is the procedure in US territory where Blackstone hopes to start the second half of the game, counting on two advantages: the first, the territorial one, of playing at home and the second, competitive, of forcing the opponent to bear the costs of a lawsuit. on American soil which could prove excessively burdensome.

For the American fund (which in Italy availed itself of the assistance of the lawyers Giuseppe Iannaccone, Francesco Gatti, Carlo Pavesi and Anna Melgrati) various possibilities remain open. If Judge Masley were to decide that New York is not the battleground, Blackstone could plead his reasons again in Milan, or even in London. But bearing in mind a detail that is not marginal: that is, in the years of legal disputes the value of the building has risen together with the Milanese real estate market and asking for compensation for economic damage (the failure to resell to Allianz) may not be easy.

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