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What: Shares of snack seller Diamond Foods (NAS: DMND) were taking a pounding in today's trading, falling as much as 17%.
So what: On Nov. 17, Diamond announced that board member, audit committee member, and agriculture expert Joseph Silveira had passed away. As president of Farmland Management Services, an agriculture services company, Diamond said Silveira brought "strategic insight in commodity markets and large-scale production of agricultural products" to the company.
What does this have to do with the stock's move today? Last night, reports surfaced that Silveira's death was an apparent suicide.
Now what: The timing of his death has apparently provided plenty of food for thought for the more conspiracy-minded. Two weeks prior to Silveira's passing, the company disclosed that it was investigating its "accounting for certain crop payments to walnut growers." The market action today suggests that investors think the death may be related to the investigations.
Diamond's management wants to avoid any sort of speculation around this sad event. According to Herb Greenberg at CNBC, the company said:
Joe served Diamond shareholders as a director with dignity and dedication for many years. Any suggestion that his passing was somehow related to the accounting investigation by people seeking to profit by spreading such unfounded rumors is demeaning to his legacy.
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