Feeds

Oracle's Ellison spanked for withholding evidence in shareholder suit

The missing Softwar tapes

Website security in corporate America

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
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
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.