Bank of China smacked with daily contempt fines in the US

Sarah Spickernell
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A man walks past the Bank of China headq
The series of fines are due to begin early next week (Source: Getty)

The Bank of China is facing a daily fine of $50,000 (£33,191) from the US, unless it complies with a court request to hand over the details of customers who have been accused of selling fake luxury products.

The fine follows a court ruling made in Manhattan yesterday, in which District Judge Richard Sullivan said the bank had refused to give the details. The fine is due to come into early next week.

The Bank of China said it would not give the details because doing so would violate China's privacy law, and as a result it is appealing the civil order.

Read more: Why China is key to securing London’s future

The court ruling follows a lawsuit five years ago, in which a number of luxury brands including Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent sued Chinese companies for selling counterfeit goods. They asked Sullivan to make the Bank of China pay $12m (£8m) to cover the losses they suffered.

Following the decision to impose the fine, Sullivan said the state-run bank could still avoid paying it if it complied with requests for records in the meantime.

He accused the bank of “manifest determination” to ignore the subpoenas: "BOC's refusal to comply with US law, while it continues to receive the benefits attendant to its banking activity in the United States, has inflicted a significant harm on plaintiffs and the general public," he wrote.

“Only a large fine will have a coercive effect on BOC at this stage”

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