Starkey Laboratories Owner Wraps Up Testimony

February 14, 2018 09:00 PM

Starkey Laboratories owner Bill Austin ended four days on the witness stand as the embezzlement trial of several former executives at the company continued Wednesday.

Those former executives are accused of stealing $20 million from the hearing aid manufacturing company. 

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RELATED: Owner of Starkey Laboratories Spends Second Day on Witness Stand

Austin was grilled by defense attorneys about the company's finances - topics ranging from consulting fees to employee bonus formulas.

He has maintained there was a lot he never knew, and that he simply trusted that his executives were handling business in a fair and efficient manner.

RELATED: Trial Underway For 4 Executives Accused of Fraud Against Starkey Laboratories

The defense continued to argue Austin knew or should have known what was happening.

Paul Vaaler, a legal and business expert at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, said no matter what the verdict ends up being, the circumstances that led to this trial are a cautionary tale.

RELATED: Former Starkey Executive Pleads Guilty to 1 Count of Conspiracy

"I think this is a great opportunity for business executives on how not to govern a company," Vaaler said. "How it can lead to criminal activity or bad governance.

"Either way it's not good for a company and it's not good for employees."

The trial is expected to last into March.

RELATED: New Indictment Reduces Number of Charges For Some Accused of Stealing From Starkey

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Ellen Galles

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