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November 29, 07

NEWS / Prosecutors say Black cost shareholders $32.15M


CHICAGO — U.S. prosecutors have calculated the loss attributable to defendants’ conduct in the Conrad Black fraud trial to be US$32.15 million, according to documents filed Tuesday.

The sum is part of a document outlining the government’s objection to a pre-sentencing report.

Former media titan Conrad Black will be sentenced on fraud and obstruction convictions Dec. 10 after a Chicago judge recently granted a defence request to postpone his sentencing from Nov. 30.

His lawyers had asked Judge Amy St. Eve for more time to prepare objections to pre-sentencing reports.

Lawyers were given until Tuesday to present objections to a pre-sentence investigation, with responses to the objections due by Dec. 3.

Black and co-defendants Mark Kipnis, Jack Boultbee and Peter Atkinson were convicted July 13 of three mail fraud counts for pocketing millions of dollars that prosecutors said belonged to shareholders of the former Hollinger International.

“In total, the U.S. community newspaper scheme charged in Count One resulted in an actual loss to (Hollinger) International of $32.15 million, including $16.55 million to (Ravelston) Inc. and $15.6 million to the top executives,” says the government’s objection report filed Tuesday.

Prosecutors are seeking payments from Black and his longtime business associates Boultbee and Atkinson. Black faces up to 30 years in prison, although several lawyers say it’s more likely that he would get five to 10 years.

Black was also found guilty of obstruction of justice for removing boxes of documents from a Toronto office even though he knew federal prosecutors wanted them.

Black, once the head of one of the world’s biggest media empires, recently lost a bid for a new trial when St. Eve ruled against a defence motion to reverse the jury’s guilty convictions or to grant a new trial.

They cited a lack of credible witnesses, prejudicial evidence and faulty jury instructions among their complaints.

By The Canadian Press
SOurces: http://ottsun.canoe.ca/Money/2007/11/27/4690605.html

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