(Application no. 40381/05)
2 November 2010
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Lánchíd Hitel és Faktor Zrt v. Hungary,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Guido Raimondi, judges,
and Stanley Naismith, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 12 October 2010,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
“(1) If [the majority-owner, i.e. controlling] joint-stock company acquires such part of the shares of [the controlled joint-stock company] as exceeding three-fourth of [the latter's] share capital, the board of directors of the controlling ... company ... may give instructions concerning the management of the [controlled] ... company to [its] board of directors, which the latter must carry out (“joint-stock company under direct control”).
(2) The controlling ... company shall bear unlimited liability for the debts of the joint-stock company under direct control.”
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL NO. 1 TO THE CONVENTION
“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”
It is therefore satisfied that the claim emanating from the assignment of the social security contributions owed by M. Rt amounts to a “possession” for the purposes of this provision.
In sum, the Court cannot but conclude that no “fair balance” has been struck between the demands of the general interests of the community – namely, the integrity of the treasury – and the requirements of the individual's fundamental rights.
There has accordingly been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
II. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts, to be converted into Hungarian forints at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 310,000 (three hundred and ten thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 40,000 (forty thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 2 November 2010, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Stanley Naismith Françoise Tulkens
1 630,700 euros (EUR)
2 EUR 568,000
3 EUR 300,200
1 EUR 34,000
2 EUR 21,300
3 EUR 8,900
4 EUR 2,500