A tiny finance company that claims its name is being used illegally by Citigroup Inc. filed suit against the banking giant Tuesday, asking for $125 million in damages.

The suit, filed by City Financial Inc. in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., charges Citigroup with trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false advertising. City Financial, based in Orange, Calif., says Citigroup is using the brand name "CitiFinancial" even though it was denied permission to do so earlier this year.

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