Polish oil refiner sues Commerzbank's mBank, others over interchange fees

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's biggest oil refiner, PKN Orlen PKN.WA, has sued Commerzbank-owned CBKG.DE mBank MBK.WA, along with Mastercard MA.N, Visa V.N and another bank, for 636 million zlotys ($162.07 million) in damages relating to interchange fees charged in the mid-2000s, mBank said.

PKN Orlen, which runs Poland’s biggest network of petrol stations, has accused mBank and others of charging excessive fees for card payment processing, mBank said.

PKN Orlen’s lawsuit comes as Germany’s Commerzbank is trying to sell its 70% stake in mBank to raise the funds it needs to carry out its planned restructuring. Analysts expect the sale to fetch 11-12 billion zlotys ($2.8-3.06 billion).

“The plaintiff accuses both banks and other banks operating in Poland of participating in the unlawful agreement ... restricting competition on the services market related to the settlement of clients’ obligations,” mBank said.

Mastercard and Visa did not respond to a request for comment, while mBank said that it is working on a response to the lawsuit. Earlier another Polish company, retailer LPP LPPP.WA owned by private investors, has sued mBank in an almost identical case.

Reporting by Marcin Goclowski, editing by Louise Heavens