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Insider trading lawsuit filed against top CBS execs

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Current and former CBS executives sold shares in the company before sexual harassment allegations against then-CEO Leslie Moonves became public, according to a lawsuit filed in New York, The Wall Street Journal reported.

[WASHINGTON] Current and former CBS executives sold shares in the company before sexual harassment allegations against then-CEO Leslie Moonves became public, according to a lawsuit filed in New York, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The suit was presented on Monday by shareholders who are asking a judge to give them class action status, the newspaper said.

Named in the lawsuit are Mr Moonves, who resigned in September, acting CEO Joe Ianniello, chief accounting officer Lawrence Liding and former communications chief Gil Schwartz.

The suit alleges that the four men sold more than 3.4 million shares worth over US$200 million before CBS announced in July that it would investigate Moonves for alleged sexual harassment.

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The complaint was filed by the Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern California.

It argued that the timing and amount of the sales "were unusual and suspicious."

The lawsuit says that Mr Moonves sold stock valued at US$155.3 million between June 2017 and May 2018 and that during this period CBS knew of media inquiries about sexual harassment allegations against him.

The Journal said CBS and Moonves deny these allegations.

The suit seeks compensatory damages, on grounds that the value of CBS stock was inflated because the company was not forthcoming with shareholders about worries over Moonves and the corporate culture at CBS.

AFP