The Schmidt's hit by the fan: Alphabet investor sues Google bigwigs over EU antitrust ruckus

Well, he was a fan until a $3.3bn fine loomed

Photo by Guillaume Paumier
Sued ... Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt (Photo by Guillaume Paumier)

An Alphabet shareholder is suing company executives – including exec chairman Eric Schmidt, CEO Larry Page, and president Sergey Brin – for their roles in Google's EU antitrust case.

Robert Jessup has filed suit [PDF] in a California state court against more than three dozen people, including the Google cofounders and long-time CEO Schmidt, as well as the board of directors and Alphabet itself, under allegations that their actions in Europe represent breach of duty and a waste of corporate assets.

Submitted before a San Mateo court, the complaint alleges that the money invested in Alphabet by Jessup and others was put at risk when Google engaged in practices that have led to the EU investigation and possible €3bn fine.

The European Commission has accused Alphabet and Google of using their dominant position in the search market and with the Android mobile OS to help push its other services over those of competitors.

Jessup, in his claim, argues that by engaging in these actions, Alphabet execs have wronged the company's shareholders. In addition to Schmidt, Page, Brin and the Alphabet board, 25 unnamed "Doe" defendants are listed in the complaint.

"The Individual Defendants' allowance or failure to prevent Alphabet's EU antitrust violations has severely damaged Alphabet's business, goodwill, and reputation," the complaint reads.

"The Company has already incurred and will continue to incur significant damages and costs associated with its EU antitrust violations, including the imposition of remedial measures ordered by the Commission and monetary fines that could total as high as $7.4 billion."

The suit seeks repayment from the defendants of shareholder value lost by the company as a result of the EU case, as well as a resolution forcing Alphabet to "take all necessary actions to reform and improve its corporate governance and internal procedures to comply with applicable laws and to protect Alphabet and its stockholders from a repeat of the damaging events."

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for July 21. ®

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