Ex-directors of Satyam win ruling in U.S. class-action suit

NEW YORK Thu Jan 3, 2013 10:10am IST

An employee of Satyam Computer Services enters the office building in of Hyderabad January 21, 2009. REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder/Files

An employee of Satyam Computer Services enters the office building in of Hyderabad January 21, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Krishnendu Halder/Files

Related Topics



NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge dismissed claims against seven former directors of Satyam Computer Services Ltd (SATY.NS) in shareholder lawsuits stemming from the massive fraud at the heart of India's largest corporate scandal.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones in New York ruled on Wednesday the lawsuits failed to allege that the ex-directors recklessly failed to discover the fraud, which came to be known as "India's Enron."

The lawsuits center on the revelation by Satyam's founder and former chairman, Ramalinga Raju, that what had been India's fourth-largest outsourcing firm had for several years inflated its revenue, income and cash balances by more than $1 billion.

In her decision Wednesday, Jones said the allegations primarily focused on the actions of a small group of insiders, reinforcing an inference the audit committee's members "were themselves victims of the fraud."

Lawyers for the directors welcomed the decision.

"It was truly unfortunate that these directors, diligent individuals of the highest integrity, were ever named as defendants," said Irwin Warren, a lawyer for five of the seven directors involved in the case.

Gordon Atkinson, a lawyer for former board member Vinod Dham, in an email said the decision would hopefully help vindicate his client and the other outside directors, "who were themselves victims of the Satyam fraud, not perpetrators or otherwise responsible for it."

Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment.

Satyam shareholders began filing lawsuits in 2009 after the scandal broke.

In 2011 Satyam, now called Mahindra Satyam Ltd, and its auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, agreed to pay $125 million and $25.5 million, respectively, to settle claims filed by shareholders.

That same year, Satyam and PwC agreed to pay a combined $17.5 million to settle claims made by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

The 2011 settlements did not include Satyam's former directors, who continued to litigate the case that ultimately ended in Wednesday's ruling.

In her ruling, Jones also said the investors could not file claims arising from stock purchases made on the National Stock Exchange of India, citing a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case restricting investor claims in U.S. courts involving stocks bought on overseas exchanges.

Investors had also filed claims involving Satyam American depositary shares, which were not impacted by the Supreme Court ruling.

The lead plaintiffs include Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi, Mineworkers' Pension Scheme, SKAGEN AS and Sampension KP Livsforsikring A/S.

Jones also dismissed claims brought by a former Satyam employee on behalf of employees who exercised stock options. The judge also voided claims on jurisdictional grounds against two companies owned by the Raju family - Maytas Infra Ltd. and Maytas Properties.

Adam Finkel, a lawyer for Maytas Properties, in an email said his clients were pleased with the decision.

The case is In re Satyam Computer Services Ltd. Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 09-2027.

(Reporting By Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Matt Driskill)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Shares Hit Record

Sensex, Nifty rise to second consecutive record high

Sensex surges 500 points on BOJ easing, L&T gains

The BSE Sensex and Nifty surged to record highs for a second consecutive session on Friday after Bank of Japan's surprise expansion of its massive stimulus programme raised hopes for additional foreign inflows, boosting blue-chips such as Larsen & Toubro.  Full Article 


Wilful Negligence?

Wilful Negligence?

SEBI piles pressure on Sahara to sell overseas hotels  Full Article 

Indian Economy

Indian Economy

India's fiscal deficit in H1 almost 83 pct of full-year target.  Full Article 

M&M Earnings

M&M Earnings

M&M Q2 net profit down 4 percent, hit by poor monsoon.  Full Article 

Ban on E-Cigs?

Ban on E-Cigs?

Govt considers ban on e-cigarettes, sale of single smokes.  Full Article 



Silver futures in India hit four-year low on global cues.  Full Article 

BOJ Policy

BOJ Policy

BOJ shocks markets with surprise easing as inflation slows.  Full Article 

Shadow Banking

Shadow Banking

China's shadow banking sector growing rapidly, third largest in world - FSB.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage