Deutsche Telekom shareholders get their day in court today as they allege the company ripped them off during the internet bubble to the tune of 15 billioneuros.
The presiding judge has dealt them an early victory, disapproving of Telekom’s asset valuation methods. Representing small investors Klaus Rotter says there are clear indications Telekom has deliberately accepted false data, for example violating accountancy law, which clearly states real estate values should be seperately assessed, a rule Telekom flouted. Judge Meinrad Woesthoff has chosen 10 representative plaintiffs from the 2100lawsuits filed by some 15000 mostly small shareholders. They are claiming 100 million euros in damages, after they saw the value of their shares bought in 2000 cut by four-fifths. DT is Germany’s widest-held share, with over three million people owning a stake. DT rejects the charges, and has had some sympathy from the judge who has rejected almost all the other suits being brought against it, including concealing talks that led to the acquisition of America’s Voicestream Moreover, the plaintiffs will have to prove the real estate evaluations led to wrong company results, so they will have to hit the right buttons in court.