A court ruled in favour of Thailand operator True in a long-running payment dispute with state-run TOT, overturning a nearly $38 million penalty imposed on the former during a prior round of arbitration.

The dispute relates to tax payments True made more than a decade ago as part of a joint investment in a fixed-line business with TOT. Following a change in tax laws in 2007, which made each company responsible for their own tax payments, TOT demanded the return of THB1.48 billion ($45.5 billion) in back taxes it had deducted from the amount True owed it as part of a revenue-sharing arrangement, Bangkok Post reported.

In 2014 True, the second-largest operator in the country, petitioned Thailand’s Administrative Court to revoke an order by the tribunal for it to pay THB1.22 billion to TOT.

The court yesterday (26 September) did not elaborate on the reasoning behind the ruling. True, responding to TOT’s claim it received an excess amount in payments, argued its payment of “excise tax to the respective authority was done on behalf of TOT and that it was not in breach of contract in any way”.

True noted in a filing with the Stock Exchange of Thailand the case is not final and TOT has the right to file an appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court.

China Mobile-backed True also is involved in a much larger legal battle with TOT. In early September a tribunal ordered True to pay THB94 billion for breaching a contract with the state-run company, in a dispute dating back to 2005. True said “the case is not final”, and it will take legal action against the decision within 90 days.