"A highly inaccurate and defamatory diatribe written more like a novel than a serious report." So much for the 500-page report, more than a year in preparation, thus dismissed by one of its prime subjects, F David Radler.

The 62-year-old executive is the former president, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Hollinger International [H-Intl], the beleaguered media group that was until last November the personal fiefdom of its [then] chairman/ceo Lord Conrad Black.

Both men have been named for their alleged "aggressive looting" of the company, in a report prepared by a special committee of the H-Intl board led by former US Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Richard C Breeden.

The document charges that Black and Radler between them siphoned off 95% of the company's profit over seven years [WAMN: 02-Sep-04] and H-Intl is suing the pair for the return of these contested payments, estimated at around $400 million (€328.84m; £223.26m).

Shareholders, meantime, have also filed lawsuits for the recovery of a similar sum. Hollinger and its departed honchos are also under an investigation by the SEC.

The two men do not deny collaring the cash -- but are adamant that they did so with the full knowledge of the H-Intl board and its auditor KPMG.

Radler claims his compensation "was entirely appropriate" and that the auditor "repeatedly reviewed and confirmed that payments now being challenged were appropriately disclosed and approved."

KPMG declined to comment.

Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff