An Italian fruit juice concentrate importer has lost its legal appeal against a EUR2.6m (US$3.4m) fine for allegedly not paying import duties.

Judges at the European Court of Justice's Court of First Instance refused to find fault with the decision from the European Commission.

The case centres on the Verona-based importer CAS, which is co-owned by German group Steinhauser. Italian customs officials accused CAS of presenting fake Turkish origin documents for fruit juice concentrate - under an EU-Turkey trade deal, such products enter the EU duty-free.

However, CAS claimed at the court that it was not to blame. The company said Italian and Turkish customs authorities "had committed factual errors" in processing the juice concentrate imports, that it "could not have detected".