Beleaguered newspaper baron Conrad Black is breathing a little easier following a US federal court decision to throw out racketeering charges against him and other executives.

The £1.25bn (€980m, £673m) claim by the Chicago -based newspaper publisher Hollinger International (H-Intl) against founder Lord Black, his former chief operating officer David Radler and other members of his team, has been active since May.

The company, through a board of enquiry specially convened a year ago, claims Black, Radler and others pocketed more than $400m of H-Intl's profits between 1997 and 2003.

Lord Black was last year stripped of control of the company and in his enforced absence H-Intl's former flagship, the UK-based Telegraph Group has been sold.

Following Judge Blanche Manning's ruling, which prevents H-Intl pursuing the claim in the federal courts but keeps open the door to prosecution in a state court, Black's spokesman said: "We always believed that Hollinger International's racketeering claim highlighted the overreaching and exaggerated nature of this lawsuit."

H-Intl, however, has not given up. Gordon Paris, the interim chairman and chief executive, says the company is examining its options, including the possibility of an appeal.

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