Conrad Black Faces Extra Hollinger Charges

16 December 2005

Former press baron Lord Conrad Black has been indicted on four more charges, including racketeering, in connection with the alleged 'looting' of newspaper publisher Hollinger International.

Black, the ousted chairman/ceo of the Chicago-headquartered company, is facing additional charges of obstruction of justice, money-laundering and mail fraud.

Two weeks ago he and three former H-Intl employees pleaded not guilty to eight fraud charges, which centre on $84 million (€71m; £48m) alleged to have been diverted from the publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times [WAMN: 02-Dec-05].

The four additional charges relate to the fraud schemes, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement, and claims that his Lordship removed boxes of documents from his companies' Toronto offices.

The statement said a further charge of fraud had also been brought against one of his co-defendants, John Boultbee.

Most of the defendants are due to appear in court in Chicago later today to dicuss the status of the case.

In a separate development three high profile current and former directors of H-Intl are on the US Securities and Exchange Commission's 'hit list' for failing to spot alleged fraud at the Chicago-headquartered publisher.

The SEC may sue former Illinois Governor James Thompson, the former US ambassador to Germany Richard Burt and Marie-Josee Kravis.

Wells Notices, issued by the regulator last month, advise the trio of potential defendants that the SEC is considering filing a civil suit and gives them the opportunity to respond and explain before any formal action is taken.

The three were members of the company's audit committee, headed by Thompson, which was charged with overseeing H-Intl's financial activities.

If the SEC does sue Thompson, Burt and Kravis, who have so far declined to comment, it would be an unusual bid to hold independent directors to account for not being vigilant enough about a suspected fraud.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff