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PwC settles dotcom fraud case

Pays off shareholders

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PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has made an out-of-court settlement with shareholders of e-district who alleged the accountancy giant had failed to discharge its legal responsibilities.

The case had been due in court in June, and all details of the settlement are remaining secret.

E-district was the last bubble on board the dotcom bandwagon. It claimed one million users and raised almost £30m selling shares to institutions before it floated on AIM. PwC was the firm's accountant.

But it all came falling down in 2001 when the CEO was suspended over gaps between real and claimed revenues, page impressions and number of users. At the end of 2000 it claimed 2.6m active users but an investigation in early 2001 found just over 50,000 registered users.

The company blamed the ex-CEO Steven Laitman. He was accused of bringing money into the company and falsely labelling it as revenue from sales agencies.

PwC was being sued by 110 shareholders because it was the company accountant and auditor.

A statement for the accountants said the firm was happy to draw a line under the matter. More from the Independent here. ®

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