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IN RE FIRST NATL. CITY BANK

May 21, 1968

In the Matter of Grand Jury Subpoena Duces Tecum addressed to the FIRST NATIONAL CITY BANK


The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLLACK

ORAL OPINION*

 POLLACK, District Judge.

 On March 7, 1968, a Grand Jury of this Court investigating an alleged violation of the Federal Antitrust Laws, caused a subpoena duces tecum to be issued upon the witness First National City Bank.

 Among other things, this subpoena called for the production of certain documents located in a branch maintained by the City Bank in Frankfurt, West Germany.

 On April 16, 1968, City Bank refused to produce these records to the Grand Jury on the ground that to do so would violate German law and possibly subject City Bank to liability for damages to the two customers to whom the records refer.

 On May 8, 1968, this Court ordered the City Bank and its vice-president, William T. Loveland, to produce the required records on May 10, 1968, before the Grand Jury. That order was disobeyed.

 Proceedings to determine whether the Bank and Mr. Loveland, as vice-president, should be found in civil contempt have been initiated and are before the Court.

 The petitions in each of those instances were met with the answering affidavits of the respective respondents.

 The proof in the case has included the transcript of the proceedings heretofore had before the Court on May 8, 1968, together with the evidence adduced to the Court today.

 The acts charged as contempt briefly are the disregard of the order of this Court of May 8, 1968. With respect to the jurisdiction of the Court, it is conceded, and certainly not contested, that the subpoena was valid; that the Court has jurisdiction over the respondents, the bank and Mr. Loveland; that the Bank's customers involved here, located in Frankfurt, Germany, are respectively a German proprietorship and a New York corporation affiliated with the German proprietorship, doing business in Frankfurt, West Germany.

 The Government contends that the Grand Jury proceedings have been impeded and delayed, if not also frustrated, by the conduct of the respondents, and that the term of the Grand Jury is running out while the Government's fruitless efforts to require production of the requested documents have been pursued.

 Basically, the defense to the contempt citations is that the Court is being requested to order the respondents to violate the laws of Germany and that this is unfair and that international comity should not permit such a requirement.

 The documents demanded called for legitimate objects of a Grand Jury investigation. The Court ordered the respondents to produce such documents.

 The individual respondent has testified both to the Grand Jury and before this Court that he has the power to produce the documents or cause them ...


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