This chapter examines the dispute between shareholders and the Dutch East India Company over the Company’s policy. In the early seventeenth century, Isaac le Maire, one of the founders of the Company, became embroiled in a protracted lawsuit with the directors of the Amsterdam chamber—his former colleagues. Why was le Maire suddenly at loggerheads with his fellow directors? The whole affair started with the management of the Company of the Fourteen Ships (Compagnie van de veertien schepen), where he was one of the directors. However, another dispute between le Maire and the Company is of greater significance. It was about Company shares. To make life difficult for the directors, le Maire had devised a very cunning plan: utilize the trade in VOC shares. The first step in le Maire’s syndicate’s plan was the forward selling of shares, followed by naked short selling. A ban on naked short selling put an end to le Maire’s illicit practices as far as share trading was concerned, but other shareholders began to express their dissatisfaction with the Company’s policy.
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