Lady Black, wife of beleaguered Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, last week quietly exercised her option to buy 269,000 shares in Hollinger International [H-Intl] -- the publicly quoted company of which her husband was recently ousted as chairman and chief executive.

She used her options to buy seven blocks of stock priced at last year's bargain basement level of between $9.45 and $14.37 a share. This will help the depleted family coffers more than somewhat, as the shares have doubled in value over the past twelve month to trade Friday at $19.41 (€16.17; £10.79).

At the time of writing, however, there is no record of such a transaction, even though the US Securities and Exchange Commission requires notification from the seller within two days of sale.

The identity of the mystery vendor is unknown, although Black can no longer exercise his own 1.2 million options since his ejection from the company.

Lady Black, aka Barbara Amiel, helps eke out her housekeeping allowance with a stint as a columnist on hubby's UK newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.

Like all good journalists, she will have an instinctive resolve to shed light on matters that that are in the public interest. Such as the sale of a large block of share options in a publicly-quoted company.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff