COURT FINDS WESTERN UNION CLAIMING MONOPOLY ON MONEY TRANSFER MARKET

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MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - On Thursday the Moscow District Federal Court of Arbitration confirmed the legality of instructions issued by the Federal Antimonopoly Service to the company Western Union.

Thus, the appeal of the Western Union lawyers has been declined.

The reason for the court hearing was the clause of the Western Union agreement under which its Russian partner banks are not entitled simultaneously to be partners in other similar money-transfer systems.

The Arbitration Court has ruled that in this way the company stands in the way of development of the Russian money-transfer systems. In mid-September 2003 Western Union was instructed before November 10 to remove the clause from agreements with Russian banks.

The company appealed the instruction in court. According to its lawyers, Western Union was guided by the Russian Civil Code provision saying: "The agency agreement may provide for the agent's right not to conclude similar agreements with other principals."

Also, the company's representatives said that the exclusiveness clause is typical for the sphere of financial services and other markets.

However, on April 7, 2004 the Moscow Arbitration Court dismissed the action and on June 21 the Court of Appeal found the ruling lawful. Now, the Cassation Court has confirmed the ruling.

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