Ex-Yahoo chief acquitted over Nazi sites
PARIS, France (Reuters) -- A French criminal court Tuesday acquitted the former president of U.S. Internet giant Yahoo Inc. of condoning war crimes by selling Nazi memorabilia, in a victory for campaigners for free speech on the Internet.
The court found that Timothy Koogle and Yahoo did not condone or praise Nazism and that it had not shed favorable light on the policies of Adolf Hitler by selling objects from the Third Reich.
Koogle, who left his post at Yahoo in 2001, had in theory faced up to five years in jail and a fine of 45,700 euros ($49,000) in a trial triggered by a complaint filed by three French Jewish and anti-Semitism groups in October 2001.
Long legal fight
It is illegal under French law to exhibit or sell objects with racist overtones, and Yahoo's French site offered no Nazi auctions. But French surfers could still purchase the relics from the main, U.S.-based Yahoo.com site.
In November 2000, France ordered Yahoo to block French access to the sites, but a U.S. federal judge ruled a year later that the California-based company was not bound to tailor its non-French sites to French laws.
Yahoo has since banned the sale of most Nazi memorabilia, like concentration camp uniforms and daggers. Current auctions only feature Third Reich stamps, transport tokens and coins.
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