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Prosecutors say officials looted Tyco

NEW YORK -- Prosecutors opened the larceny retrial of two former top Tyco International executives with a more focused list of crimes showing "they were systematically looting" the company they were pretending to serve.

Assistant District Attorney Owen Heimer showed jurors a list with what he said totaled "$150 million in outright thefts" by L. Dennis Kozlowski, 58, Tyco's former chief executive, and Mark Swartz, 44, the company's former finance chief.

"The defendants did not earn this $150 million," Heimer told the state Supreme Court jury in Manhattan.

Heimer also said the defendants had grossed more than $575 million by selling Tyco stock "while deceiving and defrauding the public" and keeping Tyco's stock price up.

Challenged about that amount by defense lawyers, Heimer conceded that the total alleged illegal profit within that $575 million was probably "immeasurable."

Absent from Heimer's opening was the assertion made by prosecutors in the first trial that Kozlowski and Swartz had stolen $600 million by outright theft and by deceiving the government and the public and defrauding Tyco shareholders.

While Heimer mentioned that some of the allegedly ill-gotten gains were spent on jewelry, art, and real estate, he never promised jurors that they would see the videotapes that were a sensation at the first trial. The videotapes included a tour of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Heimer said Kozlowski had bought and furnished with nearly $30 million of Tyco's money and a $2 million Roman-themed birthday party for Kozlowski's wife on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.

He said the thefts occurred chiefly between 1999 and 2002, despite the fact that Kozlowski legally earned $260 million in that period and Swartz earned more than $127 million.

Defense openings were to begin today.

Tyco, which has about $36 billion in annual revenue, is nominally based in Bermuda but has its operations headquarters in West Windsor, N.J.

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