Friday, July 13, 2007
Former Hollinger Internatonal CEO Conrad Black was found guilty today of three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. He was acquitted of nine other counts, including racketeering and misuse of corporate perquisites. He faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison and a $1 million penalty. While there were Tyco-like allegations of fancy parties and vacations at the company's expense, the central allegations related to payments made by buyers of newspapers from Hollinger International in exchange for its promises not to compete. These payments instead went to Black and other corporate executives. The government's case was by no means an easy one to prove, as Black's attorney presented evidence that the payments to the individuals were disclosed in documents approved by the board and as the testimony of individual directors raised serious questions about their due diligence. Earlier in the week the jury informed the judge that it was deadlocked on one or more counts, and she urged them to continue deliberations. See WSJ, Jury Delivers Mixed Verdict In Fraud Trial of Conrad Black.