* Billionaire is accused of perpetuating pyramid scheme
* Icahn says claim premised on inaccurate, absurd allegation
* Short seller says to respond to "predictable" Icahn filing
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, Aug 19 Carl Icahn on Monday asked a
federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a short seller who
accused the activist investor of perpetuating an alleged pyramid
scheme at nutritional products company Herbalife Ltd.
In papers filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan,
Icahn said the lawsuit by Daniel Ravicher was based on an
"inaccurate and absurd" allegation that the billionaire had
"publicly conceded" that Herbalife is a fraud.
Icahn said Ravicher's claim was premised merely on
statements by Icahn that he had conducted "considerable research
on Herbalife and its business" and believed in its "proven
ability to increase revenues."
Ravicher, a lawyer based in Florida, has alleged he lost
more than $75,000 on his short position.
He said he took that position around the time that hedge
fund investor William Ackman last December said he was shorting
Herbalife stock, also calling the company a pyramid scheme.
A short sale is a bet that a stock price will fall.
Ravicher's investments stand to expire worthless in November
if Herbalife's stock price is $45 or higher, court papers show.
The shares have risen 89 percent this year despite closing
down 4.1 percent at $62.27 on Monday.
In a phone interview, Ravicher called Icahn's filing
"We will respond in due course. It is quite noticeable that
he failed to respond to my allegation that his entire Herbalife
investment was motivated by a vendetta against Bill Ackman,"
Icahn, through a spokeswoman, was not immediately available
Monday's filing came 10 days after Bank of America Corp
, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co
and 50 current and former officers and directors sought
to dismiss two lawsuits in which Ravicher accused them of aiding
a fraud at Herbalife by providing $1.2 billion of financing.
Ackman's firm, Pershing Square Capital Management, has a $1
billion short bet on Herbalife, and has lost more than $300
million so far, Reuters has reported.
Herbalife has offices in Los Angeles but is incorporated in
the Cayman Islands.
The case is Ravicher v Icahn, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No. 13-01666. The cases against the banks
are Ravicher v. Moynihan et al in the same court, No. 13-01665;
and Ravicher v. Bank of America Corp et al in the same court,