LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Matti Rihko, the CEO of the publicly-traded Finnish food corporation Raisio plc, was charged with fraud in a $25 million civil complaint filed by Oat Solutions in United States District Court in Los Angeles, California.
In 2010, Rihko partnered with Oat Solutions to launch and market Raisio-manufactured natural food brand in the United States called “Simpli” (LiveSimpli.com). Although the Simpli brand was an immediate success, with widespread critical acclaim in the billion-dollar U.S. beverage market, Rihko abruptly terminated the relationship just 18 months after the launch.
According to Oat Solutions, court documents characterize Rihko’s fraud as a “pump-and-dump” scheme to “exploit Oat Solutions’ success to drive up Raisio’s share price in the short-term” for his own personal gain. Oat Solutions alleges that, because of a lucrative share-based incentive scheme Rihko designed for himself and other Raisio executives, they “were personally incentivized to act in ways to inflate the short-term price of Raisio shares regardless of whether the actions they took were aligned with the goals of all Raisio shareholders in the long-term.”
In its initial response to the complaint, Rihko claimed that he could not be subject to suit in the U.S. because he did not participate in the launch of the Simpli brand. However, Oat Solutions has submitted several videos depicting Rihko in California working side-by-side with Oat Solutions to ensure its successful launch:
Helena Lumme and Mika Manninen, the owners of Oat Solutions, describe Rihko’s actions as “cowardly.” “We had the kind of instant success that all startup companies dream about,” said Manninen. “Our success in the American marketplace meant that Raisio was successful in the American marketplace. But in the end, Rihko’s greed ruined everything for us as well as for Raisio’s shareholders,” Manninen added.
For more information, please contact Oat Solutions’ attorneys: Terrence Jones, Ballard Spahr LLP, (424) 204-4386, JonesTM@ballardspahr.com.