Big Four firm PricewaterhouseCoopers agreed to pay $225 million to settle a securities and accounting fraud class-action lawsuit brought by Tyco shareholders. The accounting giant's payment, combined with Tyco's share, will bring the total amount of the settlement to $3.2 billion including interest, according to the three law firms representing the plaintiffs: Grant & Eisenhofer, Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, and Milberg Weiss.

The settlement covers investors who bought or acquired Tyco shares between Dec. 13, 1999 and June 7, 2002, and comes after four years of litigation.

"While PwC was prepared to continue to defend all aspects of its work in the litigation process, the cost of that defense and the size of the securities class action made settlement the sensible choice for the firm," said PwC spokesperson David Nestor. "In addition, PwC values its ongoing business relationships with all of the Tyco entities and this settlement clears the way for those relationships to continue to grow."

The plaintiffs charged that PwC was in a position to uncover Tyco's fraud when the company overstated its income by $5.8 billion during the period in question. The attorneys represented a group of trade unions and pension funds in the suit.

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