Class-action law firm Milberg Weiss and two of its partners pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of secretly paying more than $11 million in kickbacks to get people to take part in shareholder lawsuits. 2

Class-action law firm Milberg Weiss and two of its partners pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of secretly paying more than $11 million in kickbacks to get people to take part in shareholder lawsuits.

Also pleading not guilty in federal court were Seymour M. Lazar, who is accused of acting as a paid plaintiff in some of the firm’s cases, and Paul T. Selzer, who is charged with laundering money on Lazar’s behalf.

In a 20-count indictment handed down in May, prosecutors alleged that Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, along with partners David J. Bershad and Steven G. Schulman, secretly paid Lazar and others since 1984 to act as plaintiffs in class-action suits against major corporations.

Federal prosecutors alleged that secret kickback arrangements allowed the firm to be among the first to file lawsuits on behalf of shareholders and secure the lucrative position as lead plaintiffs’ counsel.

The indictment also alleged that “the paid plaintiffs purchased the securities at issue anticipating that the securities would decline in value, in order to position themselves to be named plaintiffs in securities fraud class actions and to obtain kickbacks” from the firm and others.

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