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Originally published June 28, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Page modified June 29, 2013 at 11:35 AM

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HQ Sustainable Maritime proposes $2.75 million settlement with shareholders

The Seattle-based company, which sells food and health products made from tilapia fish raised in China, is settling with former shareholders after almost a year in court.

Seattle Times business reporter

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HQ Sustainable Maritime Industries has asked the court to approve a $2.75 million settlement with former shareholders, according to a news release.

The Seattle company, which sells food and health products made from tilapia fish raised in China, has been embroiled in a lawsuit for almost a year. Plaintiffs in the case are eligible for $1,000 each.

Shareholders filed the lawsuit alleging the company withheld information related to its finances and prospects, violating the Securities Exchange Act. The defendants, besides the company, include executives Norbert Sporns, Jean-Pierre Dallaire and Lillian Wang Li, as well as investment bankers Roth Capital Partners and Ladenburg Thalmann, who handled HQ’s stock offerings.

The company had told shareholders they were doing well but things became murky in April 2011. Andrew Intrater, chairman of the company’s audit committee, and the Toronto-based auditing firm Schwartz Levitsky Feldman both resigned. And the firm said it had “encountered difficulties” in confirming the company’s claimed finances. Its stock plummeted and the SEC revoked HQ’s registration earlier in 2012.

A settlement hearing in District Court in Seattle is slated for Sept. 19.

Marissa Evans 206-464-3701 or marissaevans@seattletimes.com

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