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Cinar Releases Financial Statements

Canadian entertainment company Cinar Corp. has released its audited financial statements for the year ended November 30, 2001 and reported a loss of C$42 million (US$26.5 million). The loss is due to a number of items related to the company's ongoing financial trouble, including improper claims for government incentives, which have been subsequently disallowed by both the Canadian and Provincial authorities, as well as monies reportedly embezzled by Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg, the cofounders of the company. Cinar has been plagued by financial woes for two years, since being investigated in 1999 for substituting the names of Canadians on work that was done by non-Canadians to become eligible for tax credits that were intended to help Canada's film industry. Cinar's shares were suspended on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq in March 2000 and delisted in 2001 because of accounting irregularities. According to REUTERS, no criminal charges have been laid in the case, but last week the Quebec Securities Commission fined Charest and Weinberg C$1 million each for their roles. The commission also barred the pair from holding executive or board member positions with any publicly listed firm in Canada for five years.