Starting on December 8, the Bank of China (B.O.C) could be fined $50,000 a day for protecting counterfeiters’ information. A court in the U.S. has requested the bank give details of their customers who are accused of selling fake luxury goods, such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
Just last week, a court in Manhattan held the bank in contempt of court for failing to hand over the customers’ details. The Bank — which is a top-four lender — claims it will be violating Chinese privacy laws, and is appealing the civil contempt and hefty daily fine.
“The luxury brands had asked U.S. district judge Richard Sullivan to order the Bank of China to pay $12m to cover their losses from counterfeiting or impose a fine,” writes the BBC.
‘Only a large fine will have a coercive effect on B.O.C at this stage.’
The South China Morning Post says: “The records sought involve Chinese entities that were sued in 2010 by subsidiaries of luxury goods conglomerate Kering, including Gucci Group, Bottega Veneta, and Yves Saint Laurent. The Bank of China itself is not a defendant in that lawsuit.
“The companies subpoenaed the Bank of China seeking records of the alleged counterfeit sellers’ accounts, but the state-owned bank argued that it could not turn over the records without violating Chinese privacy law.”
The B.O.C says the New York court does not have jurisdiction over it. However, Sullivan said the bank was favoring Chinese law. “What desire is there to comply with U.S. law? It doesn’t seem terribly deep,” Sullivan noted.
In August 2011, Sullivan had ordered the records to be turned over, but an appeals court ruled that he rethink his order. He didn’t back down and ordered the records again be handed over in September and October.
Research by Monica Song and Kathy McWilliams