NEW YORK -- Mark Swartz, former chief financial officer of Tyco International Ltd., testified in his own defense yesterday and denied charges that he stole millions of dollars of the company's money through unauthorized pay and loans.
''I never stole money from Tyco," Swartz answered his lawyer, Charles Stillman. ''I never agreed with [former Tyco chief executive] Dennis Kozlowski or anyone at Tyco to steal money from Tyco. No one ever asked me to steal money from Tyco."
Swartz, 44, and Kozlowski, 58, are on trial in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, charged in a 30-plus-count indictment that accuses them of looting Tyco of $170 million by hiding unauthorized bonuses and secretly forgiving loans to themselves. They also are accused of pocketing $430 million by pumping up Tyco's stock price with lies about the company's finances.
If convicted of the top charge against them, first-degree grand larceny, and some of the other more serious counts, each defendant could face up to 30 years in prison.
One larceny charge against Swartz involves a $12.5 million loan forgiveness in 1999 that he defended as a bonus applied to a debt he owed Tyco.
Stillman asked whether he thought that debt reduction ''was unauthorized or improper in any way."
''I believed just the opposite," Swartz answered, ''that it was authorized and that it was approved."
Swartz described his use of the company's key employee loan program and its relocation loan program -- both of which he is accused of abusing -- as being consistent with previous uses by other executives and with what they had told him was proper.