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Olivetti Sues Former Director Who Questioned Results

October 22, 1996

IVREA, Italy (AP) _ Olivetti SpA on Tuesday sued a former director who questioned the validity of its financial reports, seeking about 100 billion lire ($66.6 million) in damages.

Last month, Olivetti shares fell and were suspended briefly after Renzo Francesconi said the troubled computer and office products maker may be in worse financial trouble than it reported.

In announcing the suit, Olivetti blamed the resulting drop in its market value on those comments, which it said were groundless.

Olivetti, which recently announced plans to sell its money-losing personal computer division, posted a first-half loss of 440 billion lire ($293 million).

The comments by Francesconi, who resigned his post in September, touched off an ongoing investigation by prosecutors and Italian stock market regulators.

Company chairman Carlo De Benedetti resigned the day first-half results were released, followed shortly afterward by chief executive Francesco Caio, who stepped down in the face of the investigation.

Francesconi was unavailable for comment.

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