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WikiLeaks Threatens Visa, MasterCard with Lawsuit

Aside from Julian Assange’s house arrest and sundry legal troubles, his brainchild WikiLeaks has been at the center of a so-called “financial blockade” by payment processing companies for over six months. In response, WikiLeaks has announced that unless the blockade is ended by Thursday, July 7, they will file a lawsuit against the companies involved.

At issue are services such as PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard which have refused to process payments supporting WikiLeaks. The companies claim that they cannot support any illegal activity, and have cut off the secret-spilling website from some much needed donation money. WikiLeaks and their payment processor DataCell counter in their suit that the continued blockade constitutes an unfair use of the companies’ market dominance.From Forbes:

The complaint argues that the three payment firms have violated Articles 101 and 102 of the E.U. Treaty, which deal with competition among businesses and forbid the creation of anti-competitive cartels. Article 101 prevents firms from creating partnerships for the purposes of price fixing, and Article 102 forbids firms in a “dominant position” from abusing that position.

According to Forbes, Visa has said it will “respond in due course” to any lawsuit. A likely signal that WikiLeak’s threat will be matched by the companies. If taken to court, the case should prove quite interesting. Especially with the twist that Danish payment processor Teller, who is a potential party in the lawsuit, investigated WikiLeaks and found no illegal activity.

The full text of the legal complaint that Wikileaks plans to file is available at Forbes.

(Forbes via Slashdot)

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