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HELENA INDEPENDENT RECORD
Friday, October 17, 1997
Vol. 53, No. 327
MONTANA COMPANY ACCUSED OF USING SWISS FIRM'S NAME:
Allegedly Cheats an Egyptian Business Woman
BY PAULA CLAWSON, IR Staff Writer
A Helena federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday against a Montana company to stop its banking and financing operation after it was accused of using a Swiss company’s trademarked name.
The Credit Suisse First Boston Bank, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, sought the injunction after it accused Credit Suisse International Holding Corp. of Montana of using its name.
In addition the Montana company’s two Californian incorporators are accused of bilking an Egyptian businessman out of $350,000 while operating the company out of a bank in Switzerland.
Credit Suisse First Boston has used the “Credit Suisse” name since at least 1890 and trademarked it in the United States in 1977, according to court records.
“Our goal in seeking a preliminary injunction was two-fold,” said Toni Tease, a Billings attorney representing Credit Suisse First Boston. “First to protect additional members of the public that might be defrauded and secondly to protect our reputation, the value of our trademark and the good will associated with that trademark.”
With more than 10,000 employees in banks and offices located around the world, including nine cities in the United States, the bank’s name is “famous” according to its attorneys.
Certainly famous enough for the Californians to use it in a business Judge Charles Lovell called “not much more than a shell corporation.”
According to the complaint, Credit Suisse International was incorporated by Bengt I. Stenbock of Rocklin, Calif., in 1994. Max Giger of Roseville, Calif., was later named as the board president. It is not know if the men have ever lived in Montana or operated their company from the state, Tease said.
In the spring of 1997 two unnamed men met with an Egyptian businessman in Switzerland a conference room of a Credit Suisse Bank building in Switzerland. They represented themselves as being with Credit Suisse International of Montana, implying it was associated with the Credit Suisse Bank. The Egyptian paid $350,000 for a $25 million promissory note from the Montana company according to the complaint.
When the businessman tried to redeem the note at a Credit Suisse Bank in he discovered there was no association between the two companies with the very similar names.
The two men who sold him the note have been arrested in Switzerland, Tease said. She said the men apparently worked for Giger and Stenbock.
Stenbock has been served the complaint papers at his home in California, but Giger has not yet been located, according to Tease.