Hedge Fund Manager Anthion Wins Dismissal of Silvercorp Metals’ Defamation Suit over Fraud Allegations

In continued sparring over the negative information disseminated by defendant hedge fund manager and short seller Anthion Management LLC, a/k/a Chinastockwatch.com (Anthion), about plaintiff Silvercorp Metals Inc. (Silvercorp), the New York State Supreme Court (Court) has dismissed in its entirety Silvercorp’s defamation and trade libel complaint.  Anthion and certain of the other defendants, who were affiliated with AlfredLittle.com or had republished its reports (Alfred Little), had taken short positions in Silvercorp stock.  After taking those positions, Anthion and Alfred Little had disseminated information suggesting that Silvercorp was engaged in accounting fraud.  In response, Silvercorp sued Anthion and Alfred Little for defamation and other alleged misconduct, arguing that they were engaged in a scheme to drive down the price of Silvercorp’s stock.  Anthion responded with a counterclaim under New York’s anti-SLAPP law, alleging that Silvercorp was improperly retaliating against it for exposing its alleged misconduct.  In July, the Court threw out Anthion’s anti-SLAPP counterclaim.  See “How Far Can Hedge Fund Managers Go in Criticizing Public Companies?,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 5, No. 30 (Aug. 2, 2012).  Barring reversal on appeal, this case is now effectively over.  This article provides details not available at the time of the previous decision and summarizes the Court’s reasoning in dismissing Silvercorp’s complaint.  The matter is illustrative of how far a hedge fund manager can go in publicly criticizing a company in which it holds a short position.

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