Gucci and Tiffany in China bank spat

European luxury-goods conglomerate Gucci Group and American jewellery house Tiffany have each alleged in federal court that major Chinese state-owned banks are maintaining bank accounts for counterfeiters in China who are shipping fake designer goods into the US.

The banks – Bank of China, China Merchants Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China – all have branches in New York. The luxury-goods makers have petitioned to have the banks freeze assets in accounts owned by the alleged counterfeiters and turn over information about the clients. “Our strategy is to pursue the assets – you follow the money,” said Robert Weigel, a lawyer at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in New York, which is representing the designers. None of the banks involved in these cases responded to requests through their New York branches for comment