KINGSTON, Ont. - Disgraced theatre impresario Garth Drabinsky will go before a hearing today to ask that he be granted day parole after serving just over a year of his prison sentence for fraud.
Drabinsky and his business partner Myron Gottlieb were convicted of two counts of fraud each in 2009 for falsifying financial statements at the now-defunct Livent Inc., the Canadian company behind large theatre productions like the "Phantom of Opera."
An Ontario judge ruled that the book-cooking scheme was aimed at lowering expenses to meet Livent's unrealistic earnings projections and ended up costing investors an estimated $500 million when the company filed for bankruptcy in 1998.
Although they were found guilty in 2009, the Livent co-founders weren't sent to prison until September 2011 after the Ontario Court of Appeal reviewed their convictions and trimmed the original sentences to five years for Drabinsky and four years for Gottlieb.
The pair had argued that the kickback scheme had been orchestrated by other employees at the company without their knowledge.
The province's top court disagreed, citing that it still believed the theatre moguls were drivers of the fraud, which dated back to 1989. In its ruling, the court did acknowledge that it was difficult to determine whether that was the sole reason for the company's demise.
Last March, the Supreme Court of Canada also declined to hear an appeal by Drabinsky, putting an end to a legal saga that took more than a decade to make its way through the courts.
In July, the parole board granted day parole to Drabinsky's former partner and moved Gottlieb to a halfway house in Toronto to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Drabinsky was expected to speak at the parole hearing Wednesday via video link from the Beaver Creek Institution, a minimum-security federal facility in Gravenhurst, Ont.
A spokesman with the parole board says the two-member panel will make a decision by the end of three-hour hearing.
The Livent fraud convictions are still regarded as one of the most serious white-collar criminal cases in Canadian history.