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Conrad Black lawyer rips former Hollinger director

Conrad Black lawyer rips former Hollinger director

Media mogul Conrad Black's lawyer fought a testy courtroom duel with a former Hollinger International Inc. director Monday, getting her to admit she may not have read a key financial document and ripping into her for numerous memory lapses.
"We just can't rely on your memory for anything, can we?" Black defense attorney Edward Greenspan asked former Hollinger board member Josee-Marie Kravis.
"That is not correct," Kravis said sternly.
Black, 62, is charged along with three other former executives of the Hollinger International newspaper empire with swindling the company out of $60 million (euro44 million) through the sale of hundreds of U.S. and Canadian newspapers.
Black and two of the executives received $15 million in 2000 and $600,000 in 2001 in exchange for written promises not to return to the circulation areas of the community papers to compete with the new owners. Federal prosecutors say the money should have gone to Hollinger International shareholders and not into the pockets of the executives.
Prosecutors are calling former members of the Hollinger board to the stand in hopes of proving Black kept them in the dark about the payments.
Kravis, the wife of Wall Street financier and investor Henry R. Kravis, was on the audit committee, which was supposed to keep a close eye on whether management was meeting its responsibilities.
Kravis, however, testified that she had not noticed numerous references to the so-called non-compete payments to Black that appeared in key financial documents board members were supposed to read carefully.
The documents containing disclosure of the non-compete payments were produced months after the payments were made. Prosecutors say Black repeatedly lied to the board and hid information from it at the time the deals were made.
One such document was a draft of a Securities and Exchange filing that outlined the payments to Black and co-defendants John Boultbee and Peter Y. Atkinson.
"Did you read this paragraph?" Greenspan asked Kravis.
"At the time, I didn't," she testified.
"You didn't?" Greenspan asked incredulously.
"I've testified a few times that I missed it," Kravis said.
Greenspan then asked her whether she meant to say that she missed it because she failed to read it or if she may have read it but forgotten.
"I've said I can't remember," she testified. "I can't answer with more precision."
Former Hollinger board member Richard R. Burt, the onetime U.S. ambassador to Germany, took the stand last week. Former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson, who headed the audit committee of Hollinger International's board of directors, is due on the stand next.
Hollinger International at one time owned the Chicago Sun-Times, the Toronto-based National Post, the Daily Telegraph of London, the Jerusalem Post and many community newspapers across the United States and Canada.
All of the big papers except the Sun-Times have been sold and the company has changed its name to Sun-Times Media Group.


Updated : 2021-05-13 10:35 GMT+08:00