The Czech Republic has appealed against a decision by a Stockholm tribunal in the case of Central European Media Enterprises (CME) and TV Nova that could cost the country up to $500m.

On Sept 13, a three-member international tribunal found that the Czech Republic had violated its treaty on the mutual protection of investments with the Netherlands government when it allowed Nova, its leading private TV station, to break away from its former partner, cosmetics heir Ron Lauder's CME. CME is based in the Netherlands.

The Czech Finance Ministry formally appealed against the decision on Dec. 12, citing the opinion of the Czech arbitrator on the September tribunal, who said other arbitrators misinterpreted the investment protection agreement and failed to consider relevant Czech laws.

The ruling could also have an effect on the protracted sale of Barrandov Studios, the country's most valuable asset in the film industry, as Nova and Prague-based Stillking Films are the two primary contenders for Barrandov. In addition to a potentially substantial financial penalty, the case of CME is said to have harmed the Czech Republic's reputation abroad as a place to do business.