As alleged in the complaint, several large hedge funds and investment firms, including Citadel Enterprise Americas LLC, Citadel Securities LLC, Melvin Capital Management LP, and unnamed co-conspirators, acquired and possessed massive “short” positions in the Relevant Securities including Gamestop (GME), AMC Theaters (AMC), American Airlines (AAL), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Blackberry (BB), Express (EXPR), Koss (KOSS) Naked Brand Group (NAKD), Nokia (NOK), Sundial Growers Inc. (SNDL), Tootsie Roll Industries (TR), and Trivago NV (TRVG).
The Fund Defendants and other unnamed co-conspirators made highly speculative short selling investments in the certain Relevant Securities. When the Relevant Securities increased in value, due in large part to Retail Investors purchasing the Relevant Securities and increasing stock prices, the Fund Defendants, Clearinghouse Defendants and unnamed co-conspirators were caught in a “short squeeze” and were exposed to billions of dollars in potential losses.
To stem their exposure, the Brokerage Defendants, Fund Defendants and Clearinghouse Defendants (together the “Defendants”) conspired to prevent the Retail Investors from buying any further stock and forcing Retail Investors to sell their Relevant Securities to artificially suppress stock prices of the Relevant Securities.
Specifically, on January 27, 2021, after the close of the stock market and before the open of the market the next day, the Fund Defendants coordinated and planned increased short volumes in anticipation of short calls on January 28, 2021.
The Brokerage Defendants—that operate through websites and mobile applications, such as Robinhood —disabled all buy features on their platforms and thereby left the Retail Investors with no choice but to sell or hold their rapidly dwindling stocks. The Brokerage Defendants did so to ensure that the stock prices for the Relevant Securities would go down in furtherance of the conspiracy. Other Brokerage Defendants displayed loading graphics on the landing pages for these Relevant Securities to prevent users from purchasing any more Relevant Securities. Plaintiffs and Class members, faced with an imminent decrease in the price of their positions in the Relevant Securities due to the inability of Retail Investors to purchase shares, were induced to sell their shares in the Relevant Securities at a lower price than they otherwise would have. Additionally, Class members that would have purchased more stock in the Relevant Securities given the upward trend in price could not do so.
Defendants and their co-conspirators conspired to prevent the Retail Investors from buying further stock in order to mitigate the Fund Defendants’ exposure in their short positions. By forcing the Retail Investors to sell their Relevant Securities at lower prices than they otherwise would have, Defendants artificially reduced the value of the Relevant Securities that Retail Investors either sold or held on to.
A copy of the complaint can be viewed here:
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