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Simultaneous Canadian-U.S. hearings to decide fate of $7.3B in Nortel assets

TORONTO - Lawyers begin arguments today over how to divide $7.3 billion raised from the sale of the assets of failed Canadian technology giant Nortel.

The unprecedented case involving lawyers representing former employees, pensioners, creditors and others will play out on both sides of the border through a secure video link that lets judges in both Toronto and Wilmington, Del., simultaneously conduct the proceedings.

What's unclear is exactly how lawyers will present their cases to the judges, as most pretrial arguments and evidence has been sealed over the concerns of Nortel's corporate lawyers that proprietary agreements with former business partners could be exposed.

However, once the trial begins many of those documents are expected to be made public under a decision by the judges made late last week.

The trial is considered one of the biggest bankruptcy cases in Canadian history.

Filings with the courts say about 16,000 documents will be presented as exhibits — whittled down from an initial three million — and 110 witness depositions have been taken leading up to the trial.

The Canadian Press

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