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July 23, 2008 - Investors who purchased common shares of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ("CIBC") between May 31, 2007 and February 28, 2008 have retained Rochon Genova LLP to launch a multi billion dollar class action suit against CIBC and several former and current officers and directors.
The claim, issued with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleges that the defendants engaged in a series of misrepresentations during the class period concerning the extent of CIBC's total exposure to investments in the failing U.S. subprime residential mortgages market ("USSRMM"). Specifically, it is alleged that CIBC misrepresented the magnitude and level of risk associated with its U.S. subprime residential mortgage investments. In particular, CIBC represented during the class period that its total exposure in USSRMM investments, including both hedged and unhedged investments, was "not a major issue" when, in fact, the bank had exposure to billions of dollars of losses, as was only subsequently disclosed.
Further, CIBC failed to disclose that one of its principal hedge counterparties, ACA Financial, was woefully undercapitalized with an asset to guarantee ratio of "1-180" and was far from able to provide any meaningful hedge protection to the bank's USSRMM investments.
It is alleged that these misrepresentations, among others, had the effect of substantially artificially inflating the price of CIBC common shares through the class period. Indeed, when CIBC provided more complete disclosure, through a series of partial disclosures regarding its USSRMM investments in late 2007 and early 2008, CIBC common shares fell dramatically. In its Q1 2008 financials, CIBC disclosed write downs of $3.487 billion, $3.379 billion of which were related to the bank's USSRMM investments. These disclosures contradicted the company's earlier representations and disclosures during the class period.
The allegations raised in the claim have not yet been proven in court. The plaintiff and the prospective class members are represented by the firm of Rochon Genova LLP. Joel Rochon, counsel for the class, stated: "This claim alleges that a major Canadian issuer apparently ignored its legally required disclosure obligations to the detriment of the investing public. It is alleged in the claim that CIBC, over a period of months, repeatedly misled the market and investors as to the size of the bank's exposure to the U.S. subprime market, and also to the volatility of its related investments." Mr. Rochon added: "Investors appear to have lost billions due to the bank's misrepresentations and its failure to manage investments prudently".
For further information please contact Joel Rochon of Rochon Genova LLP at 416-548-9874.