Thursday, August 31, 2006
A judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued an order freezing the Canadian assets of Lord Conrad Black, former CEO of Hollinger International and a defendant (along with three other former Hollinger executives) in a federal court indictment charging fraud, conspiracy, and RICO related to transactions with the company. Black is out on a $20 million bond secured by a home in Florida and, more recently, $1 million in cash because of certain disclosure "problems" in his orignial bail application (see earlier post here). The order in the Ontario court arises from a civil suit in which Hollinger seeks repayment of approximately $700 million that it accuses Black of looting from the company, involving many of the same issues charged in the U.S. prosecution.
The judge's order, called a "Mareva injunction" in Commonwealth jurisdictions, allows Black and his wife up to $20,000 per month in living expenses, a mere pittance for the jet-set couple. According to an article in the Globe and Mail (here), while Mareva injunctions are usually granted ex parte with no involvement by the defendant, the court will allow Black's attorney to challenge the freeze order in a hearing, which they will no doubt contest vigorously. An earlier agreement between Hollinger and Black requires the company to pay 75% of his attorney's fees in the federal prosecution, but it's unlikely the company will have to pay the lawyer's bills in this action, unless perhaps Black prevails. (ph)