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I'm innocent, says Pearlman

Still, he's not speaking to the U.S. media and has announced no plans to return from Europe.

By HELEN HUNTLEY, Personal Finance Editor
Published March 10, 2007


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Orlando music producer Lou Pearlman is proclaiming his innocence to German pop music fans. In an interview published two weeks ago by the German-language teen fan magazine Bravo, Pearlman says he can't wait to get to the bottom of the scandal.

Pearlman isn't talking to the U.S. media about accusations that he ran a huge Ponzi scheme that cheated investors of more than $317-million.

However, he told the German magazine he is anxious to find the culprits responsible. He said his managers are researching what happened and he intends to prove his innocence.

Pearlman assured Bravo that his troubles will not hurt career prospects for his latest boy band, US5. He said the band members are totally behind him and understand what he's going through.

The more than 1,800 investors in Pearlman's company and the banks that lent him money haven't been nearly so understanding. Numerous lawsuits are pending. A court-appointed receiver is picking through the ruins of his Orlando companies and a group of banks is trying to force him into bankruptcy.

Pearlman's Trans Continental Airlines offered a savings account that he told investors was FDIC-insured with extra insurance from Lloyds of London or AIG. The state says there was no insurance and that instead of investing the money, Pearlman used it to fund his companies' operations and enhance his own bank account. The FBI and other agencies are investigating, but no charges have been filed.

Pearlman communicated with the Orlando Sentinel six weeks ago, saying he and his team were working hard to resolve the issues. Since then he's been out of touch, hanging up on one television reporter who tracked him down.

Pearlman was in Germany last month and is believed to be out of the country still. Other German publications also have started to write about his case, with recent articles published in Spiegel and Bild.

Helen Huntley can be reached at hhuntley@sptimes.com">href="mailto:hhuntley@sptimes.com" mce_href="mailto:hhuntley@sptimes.com">hhuntley@sptimes.com or 727893-8230.

[Last modified March 9, 2007, 22:28:42]


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