Council will see if it can claim share of Apple lawsuit compensation

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Council will see if it can claim share of Apple lawsuit compensation
Council will see if it can claim share of Apple lawsuit compensation

Hampshire County Council will “assess” whether it can claim a portion of the compensation from a case led by Norfolk County Council against tech giant Apple.

Last month, the Norfolk authority received the news that Apple agreed to pay around $490m (£385m) after a class action lawsuit — a lawsuit on behalf of a group of claimants — focused on comments made by Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook that allegedly led to losses on pensions funds.

The preliminary settlement filed in the US District Court in Oakland, northern California, will need final approval from a judge at a further hearing.

The class action alleged that Tim Cook defrauded shareholders by covering up the lower demand for iPhones in China.

According to documents, it was alleged Apple “made materially false and misleading statements and omissions about demand for the newly released iPhones and Apple’s business in China”.

In November 2018, Mr Cook told investors there was some “sales pressure”, but iPhone sales in China were performing well, according to the complaint.

However, in January 2019, the chief executive warned that Apple’s revenue for the quarter would drop nine billion dollars (£7.09 billion) below what was predicted—with almost all of the fall found to be due to poor demand in China.

It led to the company’s stock price diving 10 per cent the next day and reducing shareholder wealth by more than 70 billion dollars (£55 billion).

In this case, the claimants were all investors who had bought shares between November 2018 and January 2019.

They said they lost money because they had been falsely reassured by Mr Cook’s comments in November.

Hampshire County Council, which said it has a “small” investment in Apple, has confirmed that it will “assess” whether it can make a claim for a share.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “Hampshire County Council is aware of a successful class action lawsuit against Apple for organisations that held investments in the company towards the end of 2018.

“The Hampshire Pension Fund and its investment managers will assess whether they can make a claim for a share of the settlement in the Norfolk case, which was made for all investors (not just Norfolk) at the relevant time.”

Apple denied Mr Cook deceived investors about the phone’s sales in China in that period,  the Oakland judgment made clear.

The firm was approached for comment by the PA news agency.

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