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The Crown is not even close to proving three former Nortel Networks Corp. executives fraudulently manipulated the company’s financial statements, Toronto criminal lawyer Greg Lafontaine says in a Globe and Mail report. Read Globe and Mail
Lafontaine, who represents Douglas Beatty, Nortel’s former chief financial officer, told a Toronto court Wednesday there is no evidence his client told anyone to do anything wrong, arguing it would have taken an “almost fantastic conspiracy theory” and an “untold number of schemers” to have done the manipulations suggested by the Crown, the Globe reports.
“The Crown has in this case failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and in my respectful submission has not even come close,” Lafontaine told Justice Frank Marrocco of the Ontario Superior Court, the article says.
Lawyers concluded their closing arguments Wednesday in the long-running trial, which began in January and heard witness testimony until June. A decision is expected Jan. 14.
Beatty, former chief executive officer Frank Dunn and former controller Michael Gollogly are each charged with two counts of fraud for allegedly manipulating Nortel’s books in 2002 and 2003 to meet profit targets and trigger bonuses for themselves.
Lafontaine said it is almost impossible to manipulate earnings in an organization as complex as Nortel because there were so many people involved in every decision, the Globe reports, adding Beatty did not have the “freedom, the rope, the leeway” to make unilateral accounting changes.
“Nobody here is acting on a frolic of their own,” Lafontaine says in the Globe article.