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Livent trial begins with witness

Private contractor takes the stand in Ontario

The Ontario Superior Court brought forward its first witness Monday in its attempt to convict Livent impresario Garth Drabinsky and his partner Myron Gottlieb on two counts of criminal fraud and one of forgery.

Private contractor Peter Kofman testified he was asked to act in an unorthodox manner on two occasions.

The first was said to have occurred in the early 1990s, when Kofman Engineering Services was asked by Drabinsky and Gottlieb to pay Livent for “business development work” to help him solicit new clients, even though nothing came out of the arrangement.

The other allegedly occurred in 1997, when Livent officials ordered Kofman and another associate to charge what has been claimed as up to $1.7 million on their personal credit cards to purchase tickets for the Los Angeles run of “Ragtime.”

This was done, the Crown Attorney claimed, not only to paint an exaggerated portrait of the show’s success, but also to increase the amount of fixed assets on the Livent balance sheet.

Kofman said he was assured he would get the money back and receive legitimate invoices to back it up, but he eventually found himself involved in “a fight of unbelievable proportions” to try to reclaim the money.

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