GLOBAL - New York State Common Retirement Fund has succeeded in being named co-lead plaintiff in its class action suit against BP.

Alongside four other pension funds from the US state of Ohio, the $132.8bn (€97.5bn) scheme for government employees in New York is seeking damages for an estimated $200m in combined losses.

The funds allege the loss after BP's share price dropped almost 40% in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the company distorted both its safety procedures and its level of preparedness for any accidents, misleading investors and resulting in the stock market losses.

He added: "That's unacceptable. As trustee of the fund, our more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries expect me to vigorously protect their interests. I will make sure that the fund and all class members are properly compensated for their losses."

The attorney general of Ohio, Richard Cordray, said that he would seek compensation for what he believed to be securities fraud.

As attorney general, Cordray represents the $69.5bn Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, as well as the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio and the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund.

Following a ruling last year that disallowed foreign investors from suing in the US over shares bought overseas, it has become more difficult for European investors to join a class action suit.

However, law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann argued at the time that the ruling does not exclude investors who acquired stocks in the US from joining any class action.