Conrad Black, the former chairman of Hollinger International Inc., was found guilty by a jury on 3 counts of mail [tag]fraud[/tag] and one count of [tag]obstruction of justice[/tag]. He was acquitted on 9 counts, which included [tag]racketeering[/tag] and [tag]wire fraud[/tag].
The guilty verdicts relate to Black’s [tag]skimming[/tag] of millions of dollars from the company by engaging in deals that weren’t approved by the board of directors. Black built Hollinger into the world’s third-largest newspaper company as ranked by circulation, and at one point the company had more than 300 newspapers. He was forced out of the company in 2003 after an investment firm that held stock in the company began questioning how money was spent. The company is now much smaller, and operates about 100 newspapers under the name of Sun-Times Media Group Inc. The company owns the Chicago Sun-Times.
The indictment of Black in 2005 accused him of stealing more than $84 million from shareholders. (According to defense attorneys, he is now convicted of stealing $2.9 million.) A former executive testified that Black came up with an idea to pay millions of dollars to himself and his cronies by adding non-compete clauses to deals that sold Hollinger papers. The purchasers of those papers said they never asked for non-competes from the executives.