The accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. has been sued by EMCORE Corp., a former client of Coopers & Lybrand, in federal court in New Jersey. EMCORE, a maker of semiconductors based in Somerset, N.J., claims that PricewaterhouseCoopers partners owned company stock during an audit and then withdrew from a subsequent audit on the eve of a secondary stock offering, causing a delay in the offering.

According to EMCORE attorney Marc E. Kasowitz, a partner at New York’s Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman L.L.P., the company asked that the partners sell the stock, but the trades were not done. In addition to allegations of breach of contract and malpractice, EMCORE is charging PricewaterhouseCoopers with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. David Nestor, a spokesman for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that the audit had not been compromised and that no partners on the audit team owned EMCORE stock.

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