Rigas Son Unaware of Adelphia Fraud, Claims Defense

04 March 2004

Michael J Rigas, one of four senior executives alleged to have looted US cable firm Adelphia Communications, was himself misled, a court heard earlier this week.

Defense lawyer Andrew J Levander claimed Michael was so devoted to customer service, content and technology that he left the balance sheet to the accountants, and was therefore deceived himself by inaccurate financial reports.

Rigas is on trial alongside his father John (Adelphia's founder and former chairman), his younger brother Timothy and the firm's former assistant treasurer Michael C Mulcahey. All four maintain they are innocent of charges of bank fraud, conspiracy and securities fraud.

Referring to the prosecution's assertion that the case was "about lies and greed", Levander insisted: "They will produce no credible evidence that Michael J Rigas was a liar or greedy … The evidence will show that Michael Rigas was always above-board."

Prosecutors contend that the defendants lied to investors and used fraudulent bookkeeping to hide more than $3 billion (€2.4bn; £1.6bn) in debt.

Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff