Lord Black Slaps C$1bn Libel Writ on Hollinger Board

05 October 2004

Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour is a born scrapper.

Little surprise, then, that he has launched a robust counter-attack on the board of Hollinger International (H-Intl) for its recent report alleging that he and certain board colleagues channelled into their own pockets hundreds of millions of dollars rightfully due to the company.

Black, the former chairman/ceo of H-Intl, served notice under Ontario's Libel and Slander Act naming H-Intl's special board committee, its counsel and vice president for investor relations and corporate development.

His Lordship seeks one billion Canadian dollars ($791.8m; €638.6m; £440.49m) plus punitive and exemplary damages of C$100 million.

In the committee's 513-page tome of indictment against the peer, Black is accused of years of "aggressive looting" of H-Intl via various stratagems. It also blames certain member of the board for failing to apply adequate scrutiny to Black's compensation.

Protests a Black spokesman: "A credulous reader would be unaware that payments to Lord Black that are complained of in the report were justifiable and were authorized and disclosed by sophisticated and fully informed independent directors.

Continued the statement: "Such a reader would also be unaware of the transformation, by Lord Black and his associates, of many newspaper properties from struggling titles into flourishing and valuable properties, and of the resulting creation of more than $1 billion of value for the shareholders in barely ten years."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff