Tyco’s top lawyer is on trial for cheating shareholders and stealing millions. The Judge called a recess to allow him to compose himself as he denied any wrongdoing.

Tyco International Ltd’s former top attorney, Mark Belnick, bluntly denied on Thursday charges of fraud and grand larceny, just minutes after he broke down in tears describing to jurors his final days at the conglomerate.

Belnick is standing trial on charges that he cheated shareholders, stole millions of dollars from the company and falsified business records by not disclosing to the board of directors some $32 million in bonuses and loans he received while working as Tyco’s general counsel.

His blanket denial came at the end of nearly two days of questioning by his own lawyer and followed a brief recess called by the judge to allow Belnick to compose himself.

“Every dollar I received at Tyco I earned. Every dollar I received was authorized,” he told jurors when asked if he committed grand larceny, the most serious charge and one that carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

Belnick then told jurors he “never committed the crime of securities fraud” and said he did not try to hide from shareholders or the board any of his loans.

“I couldn’t have cared less if my loans were published on the front page of the New York Times.”

Earlier, an emotional Belnick told jurors he was shocked when he learned he had been fired in early June 2002.

“You are no longer general counsel of Tyco,” Belnick said he was told by the company’s lead director. “You’ve been fired. You have two minutes to leave this office, taking only your briefcase. You know what the issues are.”

Belnick said the director was accompanied by “two sizable” security guards.

“I picked up my briefcase and they took me by the shoulders and marched me down the corridor where everyone worked and took me out of the building,” he testified, tears streaming down his face.

Belnick also testified about his role in the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation of Dennis Kozlowski, the then-chairman of Tyco who was eventually indicted on fraud and larceny charges. His case ended in a mistrial in April. Continued …

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