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Dell smothers shareholder suit

Directors to get training, so that's alright

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Dell has settled a long-running court case brought by disgruntled shareholders, who accused management of artificially boosting Dell's shareprice so they could offload their personal holdings.

The Texan computer maker has already agreed to restate accounts for 2003 through to 2006. Now the company has agreed to boost the independence of its board of directors and strengthen its corporate governance rules.

But the proposal does not admit any wrongdoing by Dell managers. Instead, according to a statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission, an agreement is in the best interests of the company to end the investigation which could be "protracted and expensive,".

Dell agreed to pay lawyers fees of £1.75m.

The company said it had already strengthened financial oversight, set up an Executive Compensation Recoupment Policy, improved ethics training for executives and clarified qualification requirements for the board of directors.

Dell said in future it would ensure at least 60 per cent of directors were "independent", and each director will receive, at Dell's expense, director training. All directors will get "complete and open access" to Dell staff without having to get approval and agreement from the Chairman or the Board Liaison Office.

The full SEC filing is here. ®

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