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AOL Time Warner inflated its revenues by $1.7 billion, a suit filed yesterday alleges.

It's one of a pair filed on behalf of shareholders, who also allege that former leading executives including Steve Case, Ted Turner and Jim Barksdale profited heavily from insider dealing.

The suit filed in California represents two investors: the University of California and the Amalgamated Bank. It's a racy read, alleging that executives profited by almost $1 billion on either side of the marriage between AOL and Time Warner.

The figures are eye watering. Between July 2000 and November last year, Case pocketed $156 million from the sale of AOL Time Warner stock, Barksdale $119 and Turner $339 million.

A second class action suit filed by the Minnesota State Board of Investments is expected today.

Asked about declining online ad revenues in Fall 2000, the company's then-COO Bob Pittman replied "for this company, I don't see it, and I don't buy it. We are benefiting from the current advertising trends of consolidation in the Internet space. It is actually good for us."

The California suit and a rich history of links can be found at GMSV, which saw the significance of this story early. ®

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