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A federal judge on Wednesday approved settlements worth $3.2 billion for investors who sued Tyco International Ltd following an accounting scandal that led to the imprisonment of ex-chief Dennis Kozlowski. Also approved was about $464 million in legal fees and $28.9 million in expense reimbursement for the plaintiffs' lawyers. It is believed to be the biggest-ever fee award for attorneys in a securities class-action settlement.

The lawyers' payments, which when proposed had attracted criticism from some institutional investors as being too hefty, will be drawn from the settlement fund.

"In summary, I find that the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate," U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro wrote in the ruling.

Tyco agreed in May to pay $2.975 billion to settle several long-running class-action lawsuits. Another defendant, former Tyco auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said in July it would pay $225 million to resolve the litigation.

Kozlowski and former Tyco finance chief Mark Swartz were found guilty in June 2005 of stealing millions from the conglomerate, a case that became infamous amid revelations that Kozlowski had used company funds to pay for a $15,000 umbrella stand and a $6,000 shower curtain.

Kozlowski and Swartz are now serving sentences of up to 25 years apiece in New York state prison.

Plaintiffs in the shareholder lawsuit contended that from December 1999 through June 2002, Tyco and others misrepresented the value of acquisitions and misled investors about Tyco's financial health. The settlements were reached before the case ever went to trial. 


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