Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Heerleen, Netherlands, is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit of 26 Dutch pension funds against Royal Dutch Shell to recover losses linked to an accounting scandal in which Shell overstated its oil and gas reserves from 1997 to 2003.
The securities fraud suit, filed by the €187 billion ($225 billion) Dutch fund in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, is believed to be the first of its kind in the Netherlands. The 26 pension funds represent the majority of the Dutch labor force.
The group collectively bought more than 200 million Shell shares between 1999 and 2005, according to the suit, filed Jan. 6. When Shell disclosed that it had overstated reserves by several billion barrels in early 2004, it lost about $16 billion in market value, court documents showed. Since then, the energy giant reduced its estimated reserves four more times, resulting in an aggregate loss of more than $25 billion in value to shareholders.
Shell spokeswoman Lisa Givert said in an e-mail statement that the company plans to "rigorously defend itself against the action."