Koskie Minsky LLP and Siskinds LLP won approval from an Ontario judge to lead an investor class- action lawsuit against Sino-Forest Corp. (TRE) and its executives, according to court documents.
Ontario Superior Court Judge Paul Perell announced the decision yesterday in a 57-page judgment. Four firms competed to be the lead counsel in a class action.
Sino-Forest, a China timber producer, dropped 74 percent in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange after Carson Block, a short seller, said in June the company had overstated its forest plantation assets. The company, with $1.8 billion in bonds outstanding, has been suspended from share trading since August and denies the allegations.
Richard Chandler, a billionaire investor whose investment company owns 19 percent of Sino-Forest according to data compiled by Bloomberg, said the timber company needs to change its chief executive officer and appoint new directors.
The law firms are seeking damages on behalf of buyers of Sino-Forest shares and bonds in both the primary and the secondary markets, said Dimitri Lascaris, a lawyer at Siskinds, today by e-mail.
The firms expect to present a motion for certification of their class-action suit within three months, said Kirk Baert, a lawyer at Koskie, in a telephone interview.
The case is trustees of the Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada v. Sino-Forest, 11-CV-431153CP, Superior Court of Justice (Ontario).
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