As of today (Monday), Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, the beleaguered chairman of Hollinger International, has just sixteen days to come up with $700,000 (€572,997; £402,171).

The sum, due December 31, is the first tranche of $7.2 million Black has agreed to repay Hollinger in restitution of unauthorized payments he received whilst the group's chief executive. Said a factotum: "Lord Black fully intends to satisfy his commitments to the company on the terms previously agreed upon."

Black and three others have agreed to hand back to the company payments they received in respect of "non-compete" agreements with corporate buyers of Hollinger publications. These payments were not disclosed either to the Hollinger board or in filings with US financial regulators.

The other recipients are David Radler, Hollinger's ex-chief operating officer; the company's vice-president Peter Atkinson; and former vp Jack Boultbee, dismissed last month for unstated reasons.

The latter has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Hollinger, stating through his attorney that he will not repay the company having been told by a person "with authority" that the payments had been approved.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff