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MasterCard Faces New Probe in Hungary Over Alleged Market Abuse

Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- MasterCard Inc., the world’s second-biggest payments network, said Hungary’s competition authority opened a new probe against the company for “alleged abuse of dominant position” in the domestic bank-card market.

MasterCard was informed of the investigation in June, the Purchase, New York-based company said in its quarterly report published yesterday. The probe is focused on the period beginning December 2010.

Hungary’s antitrust regulator fined MasterCard and Visa Europe 477 million forint ($2 million) each in 2009, saying they colluded with local banks on fees charged to credit-card customers between 1996 and 2008. MasterCard, which has denied any wrongdoing, appealed that decision.

“If the Hungarian Competition Authority’s decision is not reversed on appeal, it could have a significant adverse impact on the revenues of MasterCard’s Hungarian customers and on MasterCard’s overall business in Hungary,” the firm said, referring to the 2009 probe.

MasterCard paid the fine in the fourth quarter of 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zoltan Simon in Budapest at zsimon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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