Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Impresario Drabinsky's Court Drama Closes as High Court Declines to Hear Appeal: Supreme Court Won't Hear Drabinsky's Appeal

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Impresario Drabinsky's Court Drama Closes as High Court Declines to Hear Appeal: Supreme Court Won't Hear Drabinsky's Appeal

Article excerpt

TORONTO - It wasn't the finale Garth Drabinsky would have scripted. The Supreme Court lowered the curtain on his long-running legal drama Thursday, leaving the former head of Livent Inc. to serve out his fraud sentence behind bars.

The man who brought lavish spectacles such as "The Phantom of the Opera" to the public assumed a starring role in a courtroom drama about falsified financial statements that dragged on for 14 years.

He saw his last chance to overturn his conviction dashed when the high court declined to hear his appeal.

An Ontario lower court found Drabinsky and business partner Myron Gottlieb guilty of two counts of fraud in 2009 and sentenced the former impresarios to seven and six years behind bars respectively.

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the convictions last September, but shaved two years off each man's sentence.

Drabinsky's lawyer, Edward Greenspan, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Thursday's decision marks the final act of a saga that's dragged on for the 14 years since Livent's collapse.

The company, which was once the toast of Canada's theatrical scene and helped bring blockbuster productions such as "Showboat" to Toronto, filed for bankruptcy in 1998. Livent's demise cost its investors approximately $500 million.

Court found the company had been falsifying financial statements since 1989 in a bid to lower expenses and keep pace with lofty earnings projections.

Leonard Brooks, business ethics professor at the University of Toronto, said observers never expected the case to become such a drawn-out affair, adding the prosecution seemed straightforward at the outset.

Drabinksy's personal knowledge of the law and ability to enlist a top-flight team of defence attorneys helped spin the case out well beyond what is reasonable, he said.

Brooks said the convictions and sentences _ decried in some quarters as lenient _ still represent significant punishments for both Livent partners.

The Supreme Court's announcement solidifies the case as a touchstone for Canada's prosecution of white-collar crimes, he said, adding it may also serve as a blueprint for those who wish to see such matters resolved more quickly in the future. …

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