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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Federal prosecutors confirm criminal investigation against Black, Hollinger
Jeannie Shawl at 8:16 AM ET

[JURIST] Federal prosecutors have asked to intervene in the Securities and Exchange Commission [official website] lawsuit against former Hollinger CEO Conrad Black [CBC profile], former company president David Radler, and Hollinger, Inc., confirming for the first time that they are conducting a criminal investigation into the newspaper tycoon and his former company. Last year, the SEC filed civil charges against Black, Radler and Hollinger [JURIST report], alleging [PDF complaint] that Black and Radler "engaged in a fraudulent and deceptive scheme to divert cash and assets from [parent company] Hollinger International" and to "conceal their self-dealing from Hollinger International's public shareholders." The SEC also alleges that Black and Radler diverted approximately $85 million in proceeds from newspaper sales to themselves and to Hollinger, Inc., a Canadian public holding company. The US Attorney's office has asked the presiding court to hold a Wednesday hearing on its request to delay the release of SEC documents to the defendants. The government says the delay is necessary "to protect the integrity of the related criminal investigation" into whether the SEC defendants and others violated federal criminal statutes, including those on conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud and interstate transportation of funds obtained by fraud. AP has more.

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