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UK tribunal sides with Sainsbury's Supermarkets in MasterCard interchange fee case

MasterCardInc. expects to take a pretax charge of about $90 million as aspecial item in its second quarter reflecting the judgment of the U.K.Competition Appeal Tribunal in the Sainsbury's Supermarkets case.

The retailer alleged that MasterCard operated a paymentscheme that violated the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and/orthe equivalent domestic provision. MasterCard's interchange fees applied forcredit and debit card transactions in the U.K. restricted competition by objectand effect, Sainsbury's alleged.

The tribunal ruled in favor of the retailer, entitling it torecover £68.6 million, plus interest, from MasterCard.

MasterCard said it is currently evaluating the implicationsof the judgment to determine if any adjustment to the judgment amount oradditional charges for other costs would be required.

The Financial Timesreported in early July that U.K. consumers are preparing a lawsuit against MasterCardover interchange fees that are considered illegal by the European Commission.