July 21, 2010
New York, Ohio Pension Funds Join Forces in BP Action
DiNapoli, Ohio AG Cordray File Petitions Seeking Co-Lead Plaintiff Status
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray announced that the $132 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund) and four Ohio pension funds with combined assets of about $150 billion yesterday filed petitions seeking co-lead plaintiff status in a securities fraud action against BP Plc. and others.
“BP misled investors with false and misleading statements about the safety of its drilling operations and its ability to fix events like the oil spill,” DiNapoli said. “The partnership between New York and the Ohio funds seeks to hold BP accountable to investors and provide the best chance for recovering losses due to BP’s apparent misconduct.”
Cordray, who represents the legal interests of the Ohio funds, said: “Institutional investors and the Ohio Funds in particular, have been greatly harmed by BP’s alleged misconduct. By forming a partnership between New York and Ohio, we aim to compensate investors for what we believe was securities fraud and effect real change in the way BP and other companies do business.”
Plaintiffs contend that BP and related defendants issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the company’s safety protocols and record, as well as its ability to respond to a major oil spill. As a result, BP’s securities traded at artificially inflated prices. Since the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, BP’s stock has fallen approximately 40%, eliminating tens of billions of dollars in the company’s total market capitalization value, causing the five public pension funds more than $200 million of estimated losses.
DiNapoli, as trustee of the Fund, is suing to protect the interests of more than one million active and retired state and local government employees, police officers, and firefighters, as well as the millions of taxpayers who support the Fund.
The Ohio funds consist of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System; the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio; the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio; and the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund.