“In an amended consolidated complaint [some CBS shareholders] are going a step further in an attempt to show CBS executives had knowledge of wrongness,” writes Eriq Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter.
The story continues, “The timing and amount of [some] Class Period CBS stock sales…were unusual and suspicious, and further demonstrate defendants [then CEO Leslie] Moonves, [then COO Joseph] Ianniello and [chief accounting officer Larry] Liding’s motive to commit fraud.”
The story also says that “After recounting the sexual harassment allegations against Moonves plus Charlie Rose and producers working on ‘60 Minutes,’ the shareholders provide a table of insider stock sales in 2017 and the first six months of 2018. They count nearly $29 million in stock sales from Ianniello, $2.3 million from Liding, $155 million from Moonves and more than $15 million from former CBS communications officer Gil Schwartz.
“‘Taken collectively, these insider sales support an inference of scienter because they were timed to capitalize on CBS’s inflated stock price before defendant Moonves’s misconduct and the pervasive sexual harassment that permeated the Company was revealed to the market,’ continues the suit.”
In Variety’s version of this story that publication adds:
“Representatives for Moonves could not immediately be reached for comment. Schwartz could not immediately be reached for comment.
“CBS in a statement said that stock sales by company insiders are governed by the company’s disclosure policies.
“‘CBS has in place clear policies and procedures relating to CBS stock sales by senior executives of the company,” CBS said in a statement. “Executives who possess material information about CBS that has not been made public may not use that information in selling CBS stock. The vast majority of sales mentioned in this complaint were made as part of pre-planned selling arrangements designed to comply with applicable securities laws. The remaining sales were subject to CBS’ customary pre-clearance policies and procedures and were properly disclosed. While it would not be appropriate to comment on ongoing litigation, we believe that our policies and procedures are fully in compliance with law.’”