July 12, 2014 / 10:15 PM / 5 years ago

Harbinger sues U.S. government over wireless company LightSquared: report

Phil Falcone, the head of Harbinger Capital Partners, which owns LightSquared, arrives at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, New York January 16, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Phil Falcone’s governmentPartners has filed suit against the U.S. government, accusing it of reneging on an agreement regarding bankrupt Harbinger-backed wireless company LightSquared LP, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Harbinger, in a suit filed on Friday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, said global positioning systems companies unlawfully used spectrum owned by LightSquared, the Journal said.

The GPS companies and advocacy groups warned that LightSquared’s network could interfere with GPS. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s decision in 2012 to heed those warnings and stop LightSquared from deploying its network was a breach of the regulatory agency’s agreement to allow Harbinger to buy LightSquared, according to the lawsuit.

“Harbinger has lost most of its approximately $1.9 billion investment, despite having made that investment in specific reliance on the government’s agreement to permit it to build, deploy, and operate a nationwide broadband network using LightSquared’s spectrum,” Harbinger lawyers said in the filing, according to the Journal.

Harbinger on Tuesday also sued Dish Network Corp and its chairman, Charles Ergen, in a Colorado federal court for at least $1.5 billion, accusing them of trying to strip the hedge fund of its control of LightSquared.

That lawsuit said Ergen had engaged in fraud and violated a federal anti-racketeering law.

LightSquared filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012. Its Chapter 11 case has been marred by a long-running battle between Ergen, who became LightSquared’s largest creditor during the bankruptcy, and Falcone’s Harbinger, which spent billions of dollars building the company’s wireless network.

Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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