Trials & Litigation

Charles Schwab sues law firm and its client for libel over '' website

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A famous investment guru and his son have sued a Beverly Hills law firm and its client for libel, contending that they are responsible for a website with the domain name (also known as

The website makes the claim that plaintiff Charles Schwab and his son, Michael, have tried to do business with the family of Indonesia’s former president, the late Suharto. But that is false and defamatory, says the complaint (PDF) filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court. Contrary to the website’s claims, “Schwab—an investor and businessman with an outstanding reputation earned over the course of several decades—does not help investors to ‘profit from a brutal dictator’ or ‘launder money overseas,” the suit says.

The Schwabs’ suit blames California law firm Steiner & Libo, partner Leonard Steiner and client Nicholas Behunin for the website. Behunin, a former surfing buddy of Michael Schwab, is already involved in litigation with his onetime friend over business dealings, reports the Recorder (sub. req.).

“The website’s clear objective was, and is, to publicly embarrass and shame Schwab and then to leverage that public embarrassment into litigation advantage in Behunin’s lawsuit,” the complaint alleges.

Behunin told the Recorder in a Thursday phone interview that his lawyer had nothing to do with the website. However, as far as he himself is concerned, “Everything on that site, I can substantiate. So I don’t think that any of it is libelous,” Behunin stated.

He accused the Schwabs of suing his counsel in an effort to conflict him out of other litigation in which the lawyer is representing Behunin against the Schwabs.

The Schwabs are represented by Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis.

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