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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another Class Action Suit Targets OppFunds' Champion

News summary by MFWire's editors

More legal sharks are circling the Oppenheimer Champion Income Fund. On Wednesday San Diego, California-based Robbins Umeda filed its own lawsuit against OppenheimerFunds over the fund's alleged strategy shift since late 2006. The suit, filed in federal court in Colorado, follows similar attacks by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins and Labaton Sucharow (see MFWire, 2/13/2009 and 3/5/2009).

Company Press Release

SAN DIEGO, Mar 11, 2009 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Robbins Umeda LLP ("Robbins Umeda") announced today that a class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado on behalf of purchasers of Oppenheimer Champion Income Fund, Inc. ("Champion Fund" or the "Fund") offered by OppenheimerFunds, Inc. ("OppenheimerFunds") between November 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 (the "Class Period").

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than 60 days from today. If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact plaintiff's counsel, Brian Robbins of Robbins Umeda at (800) 350-6033 or (619) 525-3990, or via email at brobbins@robbinsumeda.com. You can view a copy of the complaint filed at http://www.robbinsumeda.com/PDF/Oppenheimercpt.pdf. Any member of the putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

The Champion Fund is an open-ended, fixed income mutual fund managed and marketed by Defendant OppenheimerFunds. The complaint charges the Champion Fund, OppenheimerFunds and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1933 and breach of contract.

The Fund was a typical conservative high income fund until, beginning in late 2006 or 2007, and unbeknownst to investors, the Fund altered investment policies and began taking on excessive risks in hopes of gaining higher returns.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that Oppenheimer portrayed the Fund as a diversified, higher-yielding fund that avoided undue risk. In actuality, the Fund was substantially more risky than represented because: (i) the Fund took massive bets on risky derivatives, including total-return swaps and credit default swaps, and (ii) the Fund was over-concentrating its investments in volatile mortgage-backed securities. Moreover, the Fund failed to disclose to investors that its managers had changed the Fund's fundamental investment policies to focus on these risky investments.

The complaint asserts claims based upon untrue statements of material facts contained within the Fund's Registration Statement and Prospectus materials that mislead investors into believing that the Fund was diversified and avoided undue risks. Investors have suffered substantial damages - in the hundreds of millions of dollars - in connection with losses in the Fund's value that resulted from undue risks undertaken by the Fund that were not disclosed in the Registration Statement and Prospectus materials.

Plaintiff seeks to recover on behalf of all persons or entities that purchased or held shares of the Champion Fund between August 7, 2006 and December 9, 2008 (the "Class Period"). The plaintiff is represented by San Diego, CA, based law firm Robbins Umeda, which has significant experience prosecuting investor class actions and actions involving financial fraud. Please go to http://www.robbinsumeda.com for more information about the firm. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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