Crown decides not to appeal Nortel verdict, says 'no basis' to reopen case

TORONTO – The Crown will not appeal the not guilty verdicts in the Nortel fraud trial.

Ex-CEO Frank Dunn, ex-CFO Douglas Beatty and ex-controller Michael Gollogly were acquitted of two counts of fraud each — one count of defrauding the public and one count of defrauding the once-telcom giant Nortel Networks Corp.

Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, says the “Crown has determined that there is no basis for an appeal.”

The top brass had been fired by the Ottawa-based firm in 2004 and accused of being involved in a book-cooking scheme that resulted in triggering $12.8 million in bonuses and stock payments for themselves.

But in delivering the verdicts last month, Ontario Superior Court Justice Frank Marrocco said the evidence did not support fraud.

At its height in 1999 to 2000, Nortel was worth nearly $300 billion, employed more than 90,000 people worldwide and was regarded as one Canada’s most valuable companies, with its shares peaking at $124.50.

In the years that followed, the firm began to crumble when the dot-com bubble burst, and its shares nose-dived to penny-stock status amid the accounting scandal.

In 2009, Nortel filed for bankruptcy in North America and Europe, shedding thousands of jobs.

The former equipment maker’s $9 billion in residual assets are still being fought over by more than 100 parties including ex-workers, bondholders, trade creditors and governments. Complex mediation talks broke off last month in Toronto with no resolution in sight.