TOKYO (Reuters) - Fifty individual shareholders of Toshiba Corp sued the Japanese conglomerate in Tokyo on Monday, seeking 301.99 million yen ($2.45 million) in damages after the firm’s stock plunged in the wake of a multi-billion dollar accounting scandal.
The lawsuit against the company, as well as three former chief executives and two chief financial officers, comes as Toshiba shares hover about 40 percent lower than their value before the company questioned its accounting in early April.
Toshiba later said it inflated profits by around 155 billion yen over about seven years. A third-party probe blamed aggressive earnings goals and a corporate culture that discouraged employees from questioning superiors.
“Toshiba falsified its financial statements and misled investors,” the plaintiff group said in a complaint filed with the Tokyo District Court. “Toshiba’s fraud has done immeasurable damage to the trust in a stock company system.”
The lawyers representing the group from across the country, which filed the lawsuit in Tokyo where Toshiba is based, said over 40 more individual shareholders are preparing to sue Toshiba later this month in Osaka and Fukuoka.
They also said there would be further lawsuits across the country.
“The total number of plaintiffs is expected to come to around 1,000 eventually,” one of the lawyers said at a news briefing after the filing.
A Toshiba spokesman declined to comment.
A similar lawsuit has been filed in the United States in June.
In November, the laptops-to-nuclear conglomerate sued five former executives, including three former CEOs, for mismanagement. An individual investor had previously said he would sue executives including current CEO Masashi Muromachi unless Toshiba did so itself.
($1 = 123.2700 yen)
Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Christopher Cushing