SYDNEY (Reuters) – A U.S. law firm has filed a class action suit against mining giant Rio Tinto, which is facing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fraud charges stemming from an ill-fated investment in Mozambique coal mining.
Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP said in a statement released in Australia on Tuesday it filed the suit on behalf of purchasers of Rio Tinto American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) between Oct. 23, 2012 and Feb. 15, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The law firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Rio Tinto declined to comment on the filing, the first publicly announced class action suit involving the coal asset.
The SEC last week charged Rio Tinto and two of its former top executives with fraud, saying they inflated the value of Mozambique coal assets and concealed critical information while tapping the market for billions of dollars.
The assets were acquired for $3.7 billion in 2011 from an Australian company, Riversdale Mining, but sold a few years later for $50 million. Rio Tinto and the two executives, Tom Albanese, chief executive at the time, and former chief financial officer Guy Elliott, have denied the charges.