A federal judge has recommended that a Singapore-based bank be held in contempt of court for failing to turn over information related to a counterfeiting lawsuit filed by Gucci last year.
This story first appeared in the May 14, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In documents filed Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz wrote that United Overseas Bank Ltd. hasn’t adhered to an order requiring it to produce records of an account held by alleged counterfeiter Curveal Fashion.
Gucci America Inc. accused Curveal of selling fakes online in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan last year. It won a $13.7 million default judgment in the case in January. In pursuing the case, Gucci found that more than $3 million had passed through an account the defendant held at United Overseas Bank’s Malaysian subsidiary, according to court documents. Gucci served a subpoena on the bank’s New York office in November, but the company, citing Malaysian banking laws, refused to turn over information.
In a ruling handed down earlier this year, the court found the bank’s obligations to U.S. law trumped its responsibilities in Malaysia and ordered it to turn over the information. According to Katz’s writing this week, it still has not. The judge, who presided over pretrial proceedings in the case, recommended that the district court hold the bank in contempt and order it to pay a daily coercive fine until it complies.
United Overseas Bank’s attorney did not return a call seeking comment. The company has argued that it has preserved all of the records, has frozen Curveal’s accounts and has sought, but not received, permission to disclose the records from Malaysia’s Central Bank.
Gucci has made a recent habit of following the money trail through international accounts in counterfeiting suits. The company clashed with Bank of China over a counterfeiter’s bank records in a similar case last year.