Feeds

Oracle's Ellison spanked for withholding evidence in shareholder suit

The missing Softwar tapes

The next step in data security

A federal judge has upbraided Oracle CEO Larry Ellison for withholding evidence in a class-action suit brought by company stockholders.

Yesterday, Bloomberg reports, US District Court Judge Susan Illston ruled that Ellison failed to preserve or intentionally destroyed emails and audio recordings that should have been turned over to the suit's plaintiffs. She stopped short of sanctioning the world's fourteenth richest man, but she did say that jurors should assume the missing evidence would have the boosted the stockholders' case.

According to Illston's ruling - provided here (PDF) by the Wall Street Journal - Ellison was obligated to preserve his emails after the suit was filed in March 2001. But in the end, he gave the court only 15 messages.

Ellison and his Oracle co-defendants did produce 1,650 Ellison emails from the files of other company employees. But the judge says this merely muddied the waters.

"It could have been helpful to plaintiffs to demonstrate that certain emails were discovered in Ellison's files," Illston wrote. "Otherwise, for instance, Ellison could argue that he never actually read or received an email that was sent to him, and thus had no knowledge of its contents.

"Moreover, having established with certainty that numerous emails were not produced from Ellison's email files - because the emails were produced from other files or accounts - it is impossible to know whether additional unproduced emails were also deleted or not turned over."

The defendants also requested 135 hours of Ellison interviews recorded by Matthew Symonds, author of the book Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle. But, says the judge's ruling, Symonds asked a computer repair shop to destroy the laptop storing the interviews.

Ellison did hand over some transcripts of the interviews, but none from 2001. With their suit - originally brought by the Nursing Home Pension Fund - shareholders accuse Oracle, Ellison, and other execs of falsifying financial results for the company's 2001 second and third fiscal quarters.

"The court believes it is appropriate to infer that the e-mails and the Softwar-related materials would demonstrate Ellison's knowledge of, among other things, problems with the [Oracle software] Suite 11i, the effects of the economy on Oracle's business and problems with defendant's forecasting models,'" Illston said.

Trial in the case is scheduled for March. Ellison settled a similar shareholder suit in 2005, donating $100m to charities and forking over $22m in attorney fees. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.