Just as newspaper publishing group Hollinger International [H-Intl] thought things could get no worse -- they have.

The troubled owner of Britain's Daily Telegraph, already locked in a bitter legal dispute with former chairman/ceo Lord Conrad Black, has uncovered a possible fraud at its Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.

Following an investigation soon after Black's departure, H-Intl discovered the Sun-Times had been overstating circulation figures of 486,000 daily copies for "several years".

Fortunately, the habit does not appear to be addictive –- neither the Daily nor the Sunday Telegraph have adopted such circulation practices, and H-Intl asures they have been discontinued at Sun-Times.

After admitting the news could adversely affect advertising revenues, H-Intl suspended its shares "pending an announcement".

Meanwhile, with the Daily Telegraph sale imminent, Black is thought to be pressing for shareholder approval of the sale. While he is legally barred from direct intervention, his holding company Hollinger Incorporated with its 72% voting stake, will undoubtedly assure his presence is felt.

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