Theatre producer Garth Drabinsky is pictured in the rehearsal studio at Elgin Theatre as he prepares for the debut of his new production “Sousatzka”, in Toronto on Thursday, January 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ontario securities regulator sanctions Drabinsky

TORONTO — Ontario’s securities watchdog has permanently banned Garth Drabinsky from becoming a director or officer of any company, bringing to a close a 16-year-old case against the former theatre impresario.

Drabinsky, who defrauded investors of an estimated $500 million, is also prohibited from acting as or becoming a registrant in the province, the Ontario Securities Commission said Friday.

The OSC case against Drabinsky was first launched in 2001, but was put on hold until the conclusion of his criminal case for his role in the Livent Entertainment scandal.

Drabinsky was found guilty of two counts of fraud and sentenced to a five-year prison term back in 2009 for manipulating company financial statements and orchestrating a kickback scheme. He appealed the convictions all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada, which dismissed the application.

Two other executives, Gordon Eckstein and Myron Gottlieb, were also found guilty of fraud in the Livent scandal and later banned from serving as directors or officers of a public company under settlements reached with the OSC.

At its height, Livent produced shows including “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Ragtime” across North America, the United Kingdom and Australia. The company sought bankruptcy protection in 1998 and was sold off three years later.

Drabinsky is also prohibited from buying or trading securities — but with several exceptions, including if the trading takes place in an RRSP or through a registered dealer in accounts opened in his name only.

In its decision released Friday, the OSC said it imposed only limited trading bans because it does not feel that prohibiting Drabinsky from making routine personal investments is necessary to protect the public.

Drabinsky’s lawyer, Richard Shekter, said his client had offered to settle the case. But he was turned down because the OSC didn’t agree that he should be permitted to set up an RRSP or a family company that he can use to minimize personal taxes and assist with estate planning.

During hearings, staff for the OSC had argued that the restrictions are needed to deter Drabinsky and others involved in the public markets from committing financial fraud, and send a strong message that abusing public trust will lead to both criminal and regulatory consequences.

Drabinsky’s counsel had argued that he has unique and valuable talents as a creative producer that the entertainment industry can benefit from. His lawyers also said that the time he’d spent incarcerated and the restrictions he was agreeing to already send a strong message of deterrence to the capital markets.

Shekter said his client is happy that the commission supported his ongoing creative role with Teatro Proscenium, after thoroughly reviewing the theatrical-production company’s structure and its contract with Drabinsky.

“On the stuff that we fought we won the majority of it,” Shekter said. ”The recognition of Garth’s role as a creative producer and its affirmation by the OSC was very gratifying.”

But he noted that Drabinsky is disappointed that he wasn’t given the ability to operate his family company for the purpose of estate planning for his family and his children.

Shekter said he’s currently reviewing the decision, especially regarding the family company component, but that it’s too soon to say whether an appeal is in the works.

Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter.

Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

After death of 8th child, Ikea relaunches dresser recall in U.S and Canada

NEW YORK — Ikea relaunched a recall of 29 million chests and… Continue reading

Decision on Haitians’ status in the U.S. has Canada on alert for asylum seekers

OTTAWA — A decision by the Trump administration to end a temporary… Continue reading

European court opens hearing on recognizing same-sex unions

BUCHAREST, Romania — The European Court of Justice on Tuesday opened a… Continue reading

German police retrieve 100 stolen John Lennon items

BERLIN — A cigarette case, a handwritten musical score, three diaries and… Continue reading

Trump administration announces sanctions against North Korea

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration plans to announce Tuesday new sanctions on… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train to stop in Ponoka for another year

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month