NETHERLANDS – Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, the Dutch civil service fund, is leading a group of 26 funds in a class action lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell over the oil giant’s reserves scandal.

The group is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages following Shell’s improper accounting of its oil and natural gas reserves between 1997 and 2003, said a statement from Grant & Eisenhofer, which represents the funds.

The complaint in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey names not only Shell but current and former executives as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG.

“As a result of the fraud and/or negligence alleged herein, plaintiffs suffered significant losses in connection with the purchases of the companies’ ordinary shares,” the 150-page complaint states.

The schemes bought over 200m between 1999 and 2005 in predecessor firm Royal Dutch.

"The funds claim they acquired their shares at artificially inflated prices and that the overall value of their holdings suffered massive losses, the exact amounts to be determined at trial," a statement said.

Shell said it "contests ABP's claim and will vigorously defend itself against the action".

It paid $90m to settle a class action taken by employee investors and another $9.2m to settle a shareholder action last year.

In April last year ABP was optimistic it could receive compensation from Shell following US legal action relating to the oil giant’s overstatement of its reserves.