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Fraud convictions upheld for Drabinsky, Gottlieb, Appeal Court rules

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld the fraud convictions of former theatre moguls Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, but agreed to reduce their prison sentences by two years each.

The pair, convicted of two counts of fraud in 2009, produced theatre hits such as “The Phantom of the Opera” through their company Livent Inc.

Judge Mary Lou Benotto found both men manipulated Livent’s statements over nine years to attract investors, before the company went bankrupt in 1998.

The impresarios claimed during trial that their accounting staff perpetrated the fraud without their knowledge.

But Benotto ruled otherwise and Drabinsky was sentenced to seven years in prison and Gottlieb sentenced to six years.

At their appeal, lawyer Brian Greenspan argued Benotto was merely speculating when she decided the two must have known about the fraud.

Gottlieb has asked for a new trial while Drabinsky wants an acquittal. They could still seek to appeal their cases to the Supreme Court of Canada.