Bank of China Ltd. turned over records in a case brought by Gucci America Inc. after a U.S. judge fined it $50,000 a day for not complying with subpoenas seeking information about Chinese makers of counterfeit luxury goods. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in New York found the Beijing-based bank in contempt in November for disobeying orders to turn over account information that the Italian design house needed to trace and recover money from the sale of counterfeits.
The bank fought back, arguing that Judge Sullivan lacked the jurisdiction necessary to require it to produce evidence and said doing so would force it to violate China’s banking laws. Sullivan’s order cited the bank’s “refusal to comply with U.S. law, while it continues to receive the benefits attendant to its banking activity in the United States.” He said the bank was “flouting” his orders.
Bank of China, which is controlled by the Chinese government, is one of the biggest banks in the world, with global assets of about $2.5 trillion, $65 billion of which are held by five branches in the U.S.
The case is Gucci America Inc. v. Weixing Li, 10-cv-04974, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).