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Poland's PKN says its takeover of newspaper publisher is binding

WARSAW, April 29 (Reuters) - The takeover of Polish newspapers publisher Polska Press by state-run refiner PKN Orlen is legally binding despite a court’s decision to suspend the regulator’s approval of the deal, PKN chief financial officer said on Thursday.

Opposition parties say the takeover, which was approved by competition watchdog UOKiK in February, was part of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s efforts to increase its control of the media. PKN Orlen says it is a business transaction.

In April the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection suspended the UOKiK approval, following an appeal by Human Rights Ombudsman Adam Bodnar, a vocal government critic.

“We have legal opinions and reports at our disposal saying unequivocally that the transaction was conducted in an appropriate way, in line with Polish laws. The court’s ruling has no impact on PKN Orlen’s actions,” CFO Jan Szewczak told a news conference following PKN’s first quarter results.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Anna Koper; Editing by Edmund Blair

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