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Apple battered by furious shareholder lawsuit over illegal employee poaching deal

BusinessNews
by Alysia Judge
, 14 Aug 2014News
Apple battered by furious shareholder lawsuit over illegal employee poaching deal

Apple shareholders have joined forces and filed a class-action lawsuit, suing Steve Jobs' estate over claims that Apple eroded its own value by striking an illegal recruitment agreement with its rivals.

The case has been filed by R. Andre Klein, an Apple shareholder, on behalf of all the other shareholders in the Cupertino-based company.

The class-action lawsuit accuses Apple of misleading its own investors while it struck a controversial hiring agreement with other corporations – an agreement, Klein argues, that damaged the value of the electronics behemoth.

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The court papers filed this week state that Apple violated the US Securities and Exchange Act by making deals with the likes of Google and others to not actively headhunt employees away from each other.

Damning what he terms Jobs' "zealous pursuit of profits," Klein is heavily critical of the former Apple CEO in the court papers.

"Jobs's conduct is a reminder that even widely respected businessmen can knowingly commit unlawful acts in the zealous pursuit of profits," he stated.

"In this case, Jobs and the other individual defendants knowingly caused Apple to enter into agreements that violated California law and US antitrust laws."

Defendants named in the case include current Apple CEO, Tim Cook, who has been at the helm of Apple since Steve Jobs' death in 2011.

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US district judge Lucy Koh, a veteran of overseeing silicon valley court cases, said there is "ample evidence of an overarching conspiracy" among the tangle of corporations, which also include Intel and Adobe.

Klein has demanded an unspecified amount of money as reimbursement for damages caused as a result of the recruitment deal, to be paid to all shareholders.

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