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Citron publishes no new allegations against Valeant, shares rise

The company logo of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc is seen at its headquarters in Laval, Quebec May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Influential short-selling firm Citron Research did not publish new allegations against Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) on Monday as many investors had anticipated, giving the beleaguered shares of the Canadian drugmaker a boost.

Citron had promised in a tweet on Friday to "update" the story on Monday, following on from its scathing report in October that alleged accounting improprieties in a network of specialty pharmacies, including Philidor Rx, that Valeant used to distribute its drugs. (https://twitter.com/CitronResearch)

"Valeant’s operation is far 'dirtier' than just Philidor," Citron said in Monday's report, but did not make any further allegations, saying instead that "our work is done here."

"We are passing all new information on to the mainstream media investigative reports, whose legal teams are far deeper than those at Citron," the report said.

Shares of Valeant jumped in early New York trading, and were up 8 percent by mid-afternoon, at $101.24. Valeant shares have fallen from a peak of $260 in August.

Citron's initial Oct. 21 report had sent the stock down as much as 40 percent in one session, and Friday's tweet took another 10 percent off Valeant shares.

The firm initially tweeted that it was going to release another explosive report on the embattled drug giant during a four-hour conference call by billionaire investor William Ackman on Friday, where he defended his position in Valeant.

Citron is overseen by Andrew Left, who is among a small group of short-sellers who publish free reports on firms they claim are overvalued or engaged in fraud.

During a CNBC interview on Monday, Left said his decision not to make further allegations stemmed from a desire to move investor focus to Valeant from Citron.

He declined to provide details of his financial position in Valeant and laughed at suggestions that he had made $150 million on Valeant options. He said that he had not closed out his Valeant positions, and predicted more details would come out.

In Monday's note, he said Valeant was looking at insurance fraud, accounting fraud, mail fraud, health information privacy violations and perjury, among other issues.

"We do not know the whole nature of what we are going to see in Valeant," Left said.

In his October report, he likened Valeant to energy giant Enron Corp, which collapsed after an accounting scandal, and focused on information that Valeant had never disclosed to investors about its use of Philidor and other related pharmacies.

Valeant has denied the fraud allegations and said last week that it would contact the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about investigating Citron. Left told CNBC on Monday he was not contacted by the SEC over the weekend.

Valeant spokeswoman Laurie Little said in an emailed statement on Monday that "Citron admits in its latest report that it has no substantiation for further allegations against Valeant."

"Given that its last report was filled with demonstrably false statements about our business, we are not surprised, even as Citron continues to mislead investors in an attempt to profit by driving down our stock," the statement added.

On Friday, Valeant said it had severed ties with Philidor after losing confidence in the division's operating practices. The announcement came after the two largest U.S. pharmacy benefit managers said they were excluding Philidor from their pharmacy network.

(Reporting by Jennifer Ablan and Caroline Humer; Editing by Frances Kerry and Bill Rigby)