US Attorney Ups Conrad Black's Bail After Mortgage Default

21 June 2006

Former newspaper tycoon Lord Conrad Black faces a demand by US federal prosecutors to increase the $30 million (€23.85m; £16.30) bail bond he posted last year to avoid detention in custody pending his forthcoming trial on fraud and racketeering charges.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Documents filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, cite Black's failure to pay the mortgage on his Palm Beach home, offered as security for the bail bond. Moreover, alleges US attorney Patrick J Fitzgerald, the fallen mogul has "provided false statements to the government about his financial assets".

According to the filed documents, the government now seeks a forced sale of Black's oceanside Palm Beach estate because a payment due June 15 wasn't made on a $10 million promissory note that is secured by the mortgage.

The government also requires His Lordship to buttress his bail by adding his stake in Horizon Operations, a closely held publisher of community newspapers owned by Black and his former Hollinger deputy David Radler. Prosecutors aver that Black is trying to sell his Horizon stake for $16 million.

The documents, filed Monday, contain "numerous misstatements [and] numerous half-truths," counters Black's attorney Edward Greenspan. The lawyer will file his response to the demand for new bail conditions Thursday, and Judge Amy St Eve is expected to rule on the issue next week.

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