‘Talk to Chuck’s Lawyer …’

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Charles Schwab and his son sued a California attorney, claiming he defamed them by creating a website falsely linking them to the corrupt and brutal former Indonesian dictator Suharto.
     Charles Schwab sued Leonard Steiner, an attorney, and Steiner client Nicholas Behunin on Oct. 30 in Superior Court.
     Schwab’s son Michael Schwab filed a similar lawsuit on the same day in the same court.
     Charles Schwab claims that Steiner anonymously created the website Chuck-You.com, “dedicated to trying to smear Schwab’s reputation by falsely associating him with infamous Indonesian dictator Suharto and the atrocities committed by his regime.”
     Michael Schwab seeks damages for libel, slander and invasion of privacy/false light; Charles Schwab just for libel.
     Neither lawsuit alleges extortion. However, Charles Schwab says in his complaint that Steiner “recently filed, on behalf of his client Nicholas Behunin, a frivolous lawsuit against Schwab in an attempt to extort a settlement from him.”
     Schwab says that lawsuit was filed on May 28 in Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawsuit, which is pending, claims that Schwab defrauded Behunin in a real estate ventures.
     Charles Schwab claims that the Chuck.You website is a tool to create leverage for Behunin. The complaint points out that Chuck.You “is a play on the words ‘fuck you.'”
     The website was online Monday morning. At the bottom of the home page is the statement: “N. Behunin. All rights reserved.”
     Charles Schwab claims the site contained statements such as: “Looking to launder money overseas? Chuck can help!” and “Looking to profit from a brutal dictator? Ask Chuck.”
     The slogan of Charles Schwab’s brokerage and banking business is “Ask Chuck.”
     The website contains “gory photos and images from Indonesia’s past … intended to harm Schwab’s reputation by falsely associating him with Suharto’s crimes,” the lawsuit says.
     The website’s claim that Schwab and Suharto’s family were anchor investors in a land investment called the Emergent Indonesia Opportunity Fund is not true, according to the complaint.
     In his complaint, Michael Schwab claims that the defendants gave false information to a blogger, who wrote in a Huffington Post article that Michael Schwab knew the son of Suharto. Michael Schwab says he has never met Suharto’s son.
     Both Schwabs seek punitive damages.
     Charles Schwab is represented by Robert Moore, with Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis.
     Michael Schwab is represented by David Schwartz of San Francisco.

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