A Bermuda company has been named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging it committed fraud, libel and slander.
The plaintiff wants at least $50 million.
Gerova Financial Group and several people associated with the firm are being sued in a U.S. District Court in Georgia by Scott Hintz, JS of Georgia and PT Holdings, Group 1 Inc.
According to the court document, the charges allege “breach of contract... fraud, damages pursuant to federal RICO and OCGA, intentional infliction of emotional distress and libel.”
People named as co-defendants in the suit include Gary Hirst, Gerova’s president and chairman of the board; Joseph Bianco, Gerova’s CEO; Robert Willison, a part owner of Net Five Holdings, which is involved in an investment scheme with Gerova; Jason Galanis, CEO of Gerova subsidiary Gerova Advisors LLC; Eric Halter; Gregory Laubach; Paul Rohan and David Zorn.
Other companies named as defendants in the suit include Net Five Holdings LLC, Net Five Group LLC, Equities Media Acquisition Corp. Inc., Planet Five Development Group LLC, Planet Five at Gerova LLC, Noble Investments Fund and Gerova Real Estate Group LLC.
A Gerova spokesperson declined to comment.
Gerova — which has fewer than 10 staff in Bermuda — announced two weeks ago it had retained the services of financial investigators Kroll to probe possible market manipulation and collusion aimed at driving down the price of Gerova’s stock.
At issue was a January 10 document circulated by Dalrymple Financial LLC, owned by Keith Dalrymple.
Gerova made its first public comments about the report in the Bermuda Sun two weeks ago.
It took issue with the Dalrymple report, which had been widely circulated on the Internet and through Twitter.
It suggests Gerova has ties to a ponzi scheme and contained other negative insinuations.
In the Bermuda Sun, Gerova called the report “misleading”.
Their spokesperson added: “Dalrymple reaches a series of speculative conclusions.
“Gerova is in full compliance with all reporting requirements.”
A spokesman for the company suggested in a statement that the Dalrymple report aims to drive down Gerova’s stock price because Dalrymple — as it admits in its report —has a short position in Gerova.