Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Black Took $2M from One Deal, Says Ex-Director

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Black Took $2M from One Deal, Says Ex-Director

Article excerpt

CONRAD BLACK was accused in court of concealing payments of millions of dol lars

to himself.

Richard Burt, a former director of Hollinger International, Black's media company, was asked during the fifth week of the fraud trial in Chicago what Lord Black had told him about taking $2 million from the sale of a newspaper.

"Nothing," Burt told the jury.

After weeks of technical testimony, the courtroom was electrified yesterday as Burt, in simple words, focused the trial for the first time on Conrad Black and delivered repeated blows to his defence.

Burt, a former State Department official and US ambassador in Germany, became a director in 1996 soon after Hollinger was floated on the NY stock exchange.

Subsequently, Burt testified, he discovered that the minutes of Hollinger's board of directors' meetings were "not accurate".

The prosecution alleges that Black and his coaccused concealed their theft of $60million ([pounds sterling]30 million) from Hollinger's directors, who also included Henry Kissinger, included Henry Kissinger, Lord Weidenfeld and Marie- Josee Kravis, wife of Henry Kravis, the billionaire investor whose company has just won control of Boots.

In November 1998, Burt testified, Lord Black had not revealed his personal interest in the sale of 34 newspapers owned by Hollinger to a company called Horizon.

Asked: "What did you know about Conrad Black's ownership of Horizon?" Burt replied: "I didn't know at that stage that he had any ownership of Horizon."

Lord Black, the prosecution alleges, concealed his 24 per cent ownership of Horizon and secretly profi t e d f rom t he sale of Hollinger's newspapers to his own company.

Black is accused of fraudulently taking about $60million from Hollinger while his empire was sold off between 1998 and2000. …

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