US law firm launches class action against Rio Tinto

American law firm Hagens Berman has filed a class action lawsuit against Rio Tinto over the miner’s failed dealings in Mozambique earlier this decade.

The Seattle-based firm said it filed the suit in a New York district court on behalf of purchasers of Rio Tinto American Depositary Receipts between October 2012 and February 2013.

According to a statement from the law firm, Rio Tinto completed its purchase of certain coal assets in Mozambique for approximately $US3.7 billion in August 2011.

“The complaint alleges that during the class period, defendants made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information regarding Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique’s true value,” the Hagens Berman statement said.

Rio Tinto and two former executives, Tom Albanese and Guy Elliott, were also charged with fraud by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week over the company’s coal investment in the African country.

The mining company responded the charges, saying it “intends to vigorously defend itself against these allegations”.

“Rio Tinto believes that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) case is unwarranted and that, when all the facts are considered by the court, or if necessary by a jury, the SEC’s claims will be rejected,” Rio reported.

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