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Love him or hate him, Black is a fighter who never says die. Robber Baron tells the story of a modern-day Citizen Kane, helping readers understand why Black does what he does. Yes tion told took Toronto trial Trudeau tycoon United wanted wrote. He is the author of Lord Black. Lord Black of Crossharbour desLibris: Courtroom evidence revealed that the couple exchanged over 11, emails.

I have been persecuted and Barbara was under no obligation to share fully in the life-enhancing and undoubtedly character-building experience of sharing that fate with me completely. But she has, and no one can know, and it is beyond my power adequately to express here, what her constancy has meant to me. For more than four years before I was sent to prison, she toiled with me against the heavy odds generated by the legal and media onslaught.

She endured an avalanche of abuse directed at her although she wasn't accused of anything as extravagant, flakey, apt to bolt, domineering, and what Kafka called "nameless crimes". For the next 29 months, she led a lonely life in Florida, in a climate that aggravated her medical problems. And once or twice every week, she got up at 3 a.

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He had a dispensation to receive the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, from Cardinal Leger and Cardinal Carter, starting in Black would develop a close friendship with Carter and rely on him as a spiritual advisor. On Carter's death, Black wrote: He was intellectual but practical, spiritual but not sanctimonious or utopian, proud but never arrogant. He must have had faults, but I never detected any.

He was a great man, yet the salt of the earth. He has written that his faith helped him endure his imprisonment in the United States. Black became involved in a number of businesses, mainly publishing newspapers starting when he was still in university. Following the foundation as an investment vehicle of the Ravelston Corporation by the Black family in , Black, together with friends David Radler , and Peter G. White, purchased and operated the Sherbrooke Record , the small English language daily in Sherbrooke , Quebec. In , the three formed Sterling Newspapers Limited, a holding company that would acquire several other small Canadian regional daily and weekly newspapers including the Prince Rupert Daily News and the Summerside Prince Edward Island Journal-Pioneer.

George Black died in June , ten days after his wife, leaving Conrad Black and his older brother, Montegu, a Argus controlled large stakes in five Canadian corporations: Through his father's position at Canadian Breweries, and his status as a co-founder of Ravelston, Black gained early association with two of Canada's most prominent businessmen: Taylor , the first two presidents of Argus.

This episode covered the period during which Conrad Black became president of Argus Corporation following the death of McDougald. Black's new associate, Nelson M. Patrick Watson , the host and narrator of series interviewed the two widows in their Florida retirement homes. McDougal and her sister Mrs. Some of the Argus assets were already troubled, and others did not fit Black's long-term vision. Black resigned as Chairman of Massey Ferguson company on 23 May , after which Argus donated its shares to the employees pension funds both salaried and union.

In a filing with the U. The filing did not include a disclosure that Norcen's board planned to seek majority control. Black subsequently was charged by the SEC with filing misleading public statements. These charges were later withdrawn. The company said it considered the surplus the rightful property of the employer Dominion Stores Ltd.

The Dominion employees' union the United Food and Commercial Workers protested, a public outcry ensued, and the case went to court. The Supreme Court of Ontario ruled against the company, and ordered the company to return the money to the pension fund, claiming that though the most recent language in the plan suggested the employer had ownership of the surplus, the original intention was to keep the surplus in the plan to increase members' benefits. Over time, Black focused formerly diverse activities of his companies on newspaper publishing.

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Review of Robber Baron: Lord Black of Crossharbour in The Independent

Black had negotiated the acquisition of that stock from Power Corporation chairman Paul G. Desmarais in to become, as put it a 'real proprietor'.


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Black supervised the divesting of interests in manufacturing, retailing, broadcasting and ultimately oil, gas and mining. Canadian writer John Ralston Saul argued in , "Lord Black was never a real 'capitalist' because he never created wealth, only dismantled wealth. His career has been largely about stripping corporations. Five years later, he bought The Jerusalem Post , and by , his companies ran over newspaper titles in North America, the majority of them small community papers.

For a time from this date he headed the third-largest newspaper group in the Western World. Black and Radler acquired the Chicago Sun-Times in Hollinger International shares were listed on New York Stock Exchange in , at which time the company boosted its stake in Southam to a control position.

This newspaper was sold throughout the country in direct competition with the Globe and Mail. Institutional investor Tweedy, Browne opposed the payment of non-compete fees to Hollinger Management in connection with the sales and requested a special committee look into the compensation of management the day before the annual meeting in May The special committee and its counsel, former Chairman of the SEC Richard Breeden , discovered that David Radler had misled the Hollinger directors, including Black about the extent of his own participation in some of the related party transactions to sell otherwise unclaimed community newspapers in the US and also that two of the smaller transactions involving non-compete payments had not been signed by the vendors.

Black made an agreement with Breeden, shortly after the unsigned status of the two non-compete agreements came to light, by which he would remain as Chairman, but temporarily vacate the position of Chief Executive, pending verification that he, Black, had known nothing of these problems, which were handled by the company's counsel, and occurred in Radler's American Publishing division. Kissinger , who was a Director of Hollinger, when the special committee, without warning, sued Black and others civilly. Black counter-sued, and included a libel suit in Canada.

The libel settlement was by far the largest in Canadian history. The Hollinger group of companies was effectively dismantled as a result of the cascade of criminal and civil lawsuits that followed, in relation to sales of papers and intellectual property to third parties, most alleging misrepresentation and some alleging false or deliberately misleading accounts having been presented. Black resigned from the board of Hollinger in , many of Hollinger International's assets ended up being sold at prices significantly lower than those contemplated by incomplete talks while Black was with the company.

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Born to a wealthy family, Black acquired the family home and 7 acres 2. When the latter was sold in , the U. Black has disclosed his intention to remain and perhaps reacquire. According to biographer Tom Bower , "They flaunted their wealth. Black has always denied that he spent more than his income and position justified. Having departed the country, he was dropped from the list. Black is a former Steering Committee member of the Bilderberg Group. Black was convicted on four counts in U.

District Court in Chicago on 13 July Appeals resulted in two of Black's three criminal fraud charges being vacated, and his conviction for obstruction of justice was upheld. Black was initially found guilty of diverting funds for personal benefit from money due to Hollinger International, and of other irregularities. The alleged embezzlement occurred when the company sold certain publishing assets.


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He was also found guilty of one charge of obstruction of justice. The Supreme Court of the United States heard an appeal of his case on 8 December [58] and rendered a decision in June Black's application for bail was rejected by both the Supreme Court and the U. District Court judge who sentenced him. On 24 June , the US Supreme Court ruled 8—0 with one recusal, instructing the 7th Circuit to review all four of Black's convictions including the obstruction of justice charge, finding that the definition of honest services fraud used in Judge St. Eve's the trial judge charge to the jury in Black's case was too broad, "unconstitutionally vague", [60] ruling the law could apply only to cases where bribes and kickbacks had changed hands and ordered the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to review three fraud convictions against Black in light of the Supreme Court's new definition.

The Court reviewed Black's case and determined whether his fraud convictions stood or if there should be a new trial. Black's lawyers filed an application for bail pending the appeals court's review. Black was to appear once again in a Chicago court on 16 August to provide full and detailed financial information to the judge, who would then consider his request to be allowed to return to Canada while on bail. Black's legal representatives, led by Miguel Estrada , advised the court they would not provide the requisite accounting [ why?

Black was under no compulsion to make this disclosure as he had initiated the appeal for a bail variation of his own volition. His next court appearance, where he might reapply for permission to return to Canada, was set for 20 September On 28 October , the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed the dismissal of two of the three vacated fraud accounts and retained one and the obstruction count. The court ruled that he must be re-sentenced. On 17 December , Black lost an appeal as to fact and law on his remaining convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice.

The three judge panel did not explain its reasoning. On 31 May , the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear an appeal from the circuit court's decision, also without comment. The probation officer's report recommended a sentence of between 33 and 41 months. On 30 June , Black published an article for the National Review Online that provided his scathing view of the legal case, detailing it as a miscarriage of justice and an "unaccountable and often lawless prosecution".

Lipsky asked why Black was denied a retrial by jury as to whether he had committed pecuniary fraud after the Supreme Court unanimously found that Judge St. Eve's instructions to the jury were "incorrect", which led to two of the three fraud counts ultimately being vacated. In the end, one fraud conviction and a count of obstruction were allowed to stand.


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Black's motion that the last remaining counts of conviction be vacated due to prosecutorial misconduct and his claim that he had been denied the right to have the defense counsel of his choice were denied in February , along with his request for an evidentiary hearing. Black has publicly stated that he is proud to have been "sent to prison for crimes I would never dream of committing, for having fought it out as well as anyone could, and for making the best I could of a bad situation.

Following his release, Black wrote a column for Canada's National Post on his time in prison. On 6 September , he was sent to a different Florida federal correction facility, this one in Miami. Although he became a citizen of the United Kingdom in and became a British peer, he chose to live in his native Canada after his prison term was completed.

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Upon his release from prison, Black was deported to Canada. He has expressed no interest in returning to the United States. Black was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in In , after Black returned to prison due to the failure of his appeal, Rideau Hall , the seat of the Chancellery of Honours, confirmed that the honour accorded to Black was under review by the order's Advisory Council, which has the power to recommend " the termination of a person's appointment to the Order of Canada if the person has been convicted of a criminal offence.

Once the review process started, Black submitted a written application in defence of keeping his place in the Order of Canada, but failed in his efforts to persuade the Advisory Council he should appear before them to defend his case orally. Black took the matter to the Federal Court of Canada , which ruled that the council had no obligation to change its regular review process which allows for written submissions only simply to accommodate Black.

In an October interview, Black intimated that he would rather resign from the order than be removed: The regulator sought to have them banned from trading in the province's capital markets or sitting on a public board of directors. The case alleged violations of the Securities Act Ontario.