LAREDO (CN) – The self-described “market leader for freight forwarding services in the oil and gas industry” bribed Nigerian customs agents to boost its business, and the share price dropped by 78 percent when the scheme was revealed, shareholders say in a federal class action. The class claims Switzerland-based Panalpina World Transport violated securities laws by concealing the bribes.
Connecticut and Cayman Island-based trust fund managers, the Deccan Value Advisors and A/D Value Funds, say Panalpina’s concealment of its bribery scheme tripled its share price from its initial public offering in September 2005 to July 2007.
The company has since revealed that its Nigerian operations violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and enabled it to become an industry leader, while artificially inflating its stock prices, according to the complaint.
When that came out, “Panalpina’s common stock has lost 78 percent of its value,” the fund managers say.They seek punitive damages. The fund managers are represented by David Stickney with Bernstein, Litowitz, Berger and Grossman of San Diego, Calif