Hollinger Appeals ‘Racketeering’ Case, Black Counter-Sues

18 October 2004

Hollinger International [H-Intl], the former fiefdom of publishing magnate Lord Conrad Black, announced Friday it will appeal the recent decision by Chicago federal judge Blanche Manning to throw out its $1.25 billion (€1.00bn; £692.6m) 'racketeering' lawsuit against Black and certain of his former co-directors.

Judge Manning ruled against the civil charges for technical reasons earlier this month [WAMN 12-Oct-04], opining that the alleged misdemeanors of Black and his lieutenants fell under securities law rather than racketeering law, as charged.

Her ruling means that H-Intl cannot pursue its claim through a federal court, although it is free to do so via a state court where any damages awarded would be barely one third of those claimed.

Interim H-Intl chairman Gordon Paris says the company will contest Judge Manning's ruling and "continue to seek full redress for the enormous damage the defendants caused".

  • Meantime: "Hatred, ridicule and contempt" were heaped upon the noble Lord following the levelling of 'racketeering' charges against him by the board of H-Intl.

    Or so claims the Canadian-born British peer, when on Friday he launched a second defamation action against former US Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Richard Breeden and four other H-Intl directors.

    Breeden - who previously presided over the SEC investigation into the globe's largest ever corporate fraud at WorldCom – was retained by H-Intl's Special Committee of the Board of Directors to head the investigation into the charges against Black.

    His Lordship's latest counterblast claims that the committee's findings impugned his honor to the tune of C$110 million ($87.86m; €70.41m; £48.68m). It follows hard on the heels of another lawsuit against the same defendants and for the same amount, while a third suit and earlier suit claims $850m.

    But irrespective of whether the forensic dice fall eventually in Black's favor or that of the Special Committee, only the lawyers will win. As ever.

    Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff