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Monday, January 14, 2013

More on today's Nortel trial verdict

James Bagnall in the Ottawa Citizen has done a consistently good job on covering this trial.

From his wrap-up:

..the Crown produced no evidence challenging how and why Nortel put liabilities on its balance sheet. Nor was the Crown convincing when it alleged that Nortel’s accountants bent the rules when they removed liabilities to manipulate earnings. Crown prosecutor Robert Hubbard asserted that proof of the fraud lay in the fact that Nortel was forced to re-state its numbers a second time in 2005. But Marrocco considered a raft of documents showing that the re-stated numbers reflected differences of opinion and judgment about how to apply the relevant accounting standards.

Indeed, it was the defence that provided the lion’s share of evidence — and this showed that Nortel’s auditors, Deloitte, signed off on all the accounting entries the Crown alleged were done fraudulently. The real weakness of the Crown’s case was its failure to address motive and its apparent lack of understanding about how a large multinational conducts its business.

The full ruling from Mr. Justice Marrocco:

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