U.S. accuses Visa, Mastercard

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The U.S. Justice Department said it filed an antitrust suit to force Visa USA and Mastercard International to dissolve interlocking board of directors relationships, which it charged hurt consumers and restrain competition. As an example of alleged anti-competitive conduct, Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein cited a decision by the board of Mastercard to reject an ad disputing Visa's "Every place you want to be" ad claim because the same banks running Mastercard run Visa. Mr. Klein said Visa and Mastercard acted in ways that hurt rival credit cards American Express and Discover Card and also acted to delay American consumers from seeing the benefits of smart cards, Internet credit cards and other innovative products.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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