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ruben.maritime

The first web2.0 spanish blog about Maritime Affairs. El primer blog web2.0 español sobre el sector marítimo.

Shareholders sue Top

NEW YORK 11 December – A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Top Tankers, its chief executive Evangelos Pistiolis and its chief financial officer Stamatios Tsantanis, alleging violations of federal securities laws. Plaintiffs, represented by Kahn Gauthier Swick, filed their case in the US Southern District Court of New York following Top’s revelation that its independent auditor Ernst & Young had resigned and its 1Q-2Q06 results would be restated on accounting revisions involving the company’s sale leaseback transactions. According to a copy of the suit obtained by Fairplay, the plaintiff class (representing Top shareholders between 28 June 2005 and 28 November 2006) allege that Top and its executives artificially inflated shares through deception; paid a “massive” $7.50 special dividend to shareholders “almost $40M of which went to defendants and their families”; and allowed Kingdom Holdings, owned by Pistiolis’s family, “to liquidate almost 900,000 shares while in possession of material adverse information”. The suit alleges that Top and its executives failed to disclose numerous factors that had a bad impact on business and at the same time it “propped up the company’s results by manipulating accounting for sale leasebacks”. The suit also claims Top “did not have adequate systems of operational controls and financial procedures – and therefore, Top’s reported financial statements were not true or reliable.”

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