Friday, August 19, 2005

Fade to Black

Fade to Black: Hollinger Heads Cop a Plea

PEJ News -
C. L. Cook - The peerless Lord Black stayed in the shadows today as two of his closest friends and associates faced American Justice. But, he may find his profile difficult to downplay now the law has reached the penultimate height of the fragile pyramid Black made of the once mighty Hollinger Inc.

Fade to Black
C. L. Cook

PEJ News
August 18, 2005

Conrad Black's founding partner in what would become the media behemoth, Hollinger Inc., F. David Radler was today indicted for fraud in Chicago by no less than limelight litigator, U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald. That's Patrick "Bulldog" Fitzgerald, the same at the helm of the investigation into the infamous Plame/Rove Scandal.

Radler is a former publisher of The Chicago Sun-Times, one of the flagships in what he and Black had built up to be the planet's third biggest news publisher, Hollinger International Inc. But, Radler is not alone in the dock. Hollinger's number one lawyer, General Counsel Mark Kipnis, and "unnamed executives" of Ravelston Corp Inc., a now defunct Black holding company, were too charged.

Fitzgerald, while neither confirming, nor denying the next to fall will be Black himself, seems now to have nowhere left to take his investigation, save up. Mr. Radler copped a plea, promising to "cooperate" with the investigation; presumably to mitigate the possible 35 years imprisonment and 3.5 million dollar fine he faces surrounding the systematic bilking of Hollinger share-holders for an estimated 32 million dollars.

In all the three defendants received indictments for 5 counts of mail fraud and two of wire fraud. Each count brings a maximum penalty of 5 years and a 500,000 dollar fine.

U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald, commenting on possible cross-border legal complications, Radler is a Canadian citizen, said: "the individual and corporate defendants cheated public shareholders in the U.S. and Canada, as well as Canadian tax authorities of tax revenue."

The besieged former press baron Lord Black has been embroiled in legal troubles, already facing mutliple suits and investigations by Security and Exchange Commissions on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. The current board of Hollinger is involved with a suit against Black and his wife, former journalist and company director, Barbara Amiel for more than 300 million dollars they say was embezzled to provide the Black's lavish lifestyle.

Black has so far pleaded innocent of wrong-doing while he chaired the company.

Chris Cook
hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as contributing editor to PEJ News.

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