Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2003

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Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Conrad Black resigns over irregularities

Conrad BlackHOLLINGER International, the publisher of the London Daily Telegraph and the Chicago Sun-Times, said Conrad Black would step down as chief executive officer after an internal investigation found $US32.15 million ($44.8 million) in payments to executives, including Lord Black, that weren't authorised by the board.

Hollinger also said it had hired Lazard to explore a possible sale of parts or all of the company. Chief operating officer David Radler and corporate counsel Mark Kipnis also quit.

The departure of Lord Black, 59, heralds the end of a 37-year career in which he transformed Hollinger from a two-man partnership with a pair of Quebec weeklies into a newspaper empire that once stretched from Australia to Israel. It also marks his defeat in a two-year battle with minority shareholders who accused Lord Black of enriching himself at the company's expense.


THE ISB Open Egroup is delighted to learn that Lord Conrad Black - CEO of Hollinger International (the company that owns The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post, among many other papers) has been forced out of office following reports of a financial scandal in which he allegedly pocketed millions of dollars without authorisation.
   Conrad Black took over ownership of The Daily Telegraph - the UK's biggest selling daily broadsheet - at the beginning on 1986 and ensured that it followed a fierce pro-Israeli agenda.
   His second wife, Barbara Amiel (who happens to be Jewish) became a regular feature writer and prominent advocate of repressive Israeli policies. In one particularly memorable piece, Amiel excoriated foreign media correspondents in Israel for giving the Zionist entity a bad image and urged them to rely on the Israeli Army for information about the killing of Palestinians!
   For more details about Conrad Black see the excellent new biography Editor by Max Hastings. Hastings edited The Daily Telegraph from 1986 till 1995 and disagreed with Black's pro-Israeli agenda. Interestingly, Richard Perle, the influential American Neo-Con (also Jewish) also joined the Board at Hollinger Intl during Black's time.
   It will be interesting to see who is appointed as the new CEO at Hollinger and how this will affect the Daily Telegraph's editorial policy in the coming weeks and months. Watch this space.

More: BBC report
Gordon Paris, a member of the board, was named interim president and chief executive officer, and Daniel Colson, vice-chairman and Lord Black's long-time legal adviser, had been elected chief operating officer, Hollinger said.

Lord Black and Mr Radler received $US7.2 million each in unauthorised payments in 2000 and 2001, Hollinger said. The two, and another executive, agreed to return the money, the company said.

Hollinger told the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday that the probe had found "inaccuracies in prior public filings of the company involving the amount, authorisation and purpose of such payments".

The dispute - and the probe into executive compensation it sparked - centred in part on $US73.7 million that Lord Black, a private company he controls and three partners got for agreeing not to compete with new owners of newspapers that Hollinger sold. Tweedy Browne, which owns 18 per cent of the Hollinger's Class A shares, said the payments should have gone to the company.

Tweedy Browne, a $US7.8 billion fund manager, also questioned $202.7 million in management fees Hollinger International paid Lord Black, his fellow executives and other companies he controls from 1995 to 2002.

Lord Black has dismissed any suggestion that the non-compete payments were improper, saying they were approved by independent directors on Hollinger's board. Threatened with a lawsuit by Tweedy Browne, which filed a complaint with the SEC in May, he struck a special committee of the board in June to investigate the accusations of self-dealing.

Hollinger's filing cast doubts on Lord Black's claim.

Until Friday, Lord Black's biggest headache was a cash shortage at Hollinger Inc, parent of Hollinger International, that had forced him to search for an investor to take a stake in the Toronto-based company.

Black founded Hollinger Inc in the early 1980s to expand the chain of nine dailies he had built since entering the newspaper business in 1966. He added hundreds of titles, including the Daily Telegraph in 1985 and the Chicago Sun-Times in 1994, making Hollinger International the third-biggest publisher of English-language papers in 1998.


... on this wesbite about Conrad Black and his newspaper empire

Conrad Black's Jerusalem Post calls for the murder of Yasser Arafat
Another over-greedy puppeteer Australian Frank Lowy defends $12.38 million bonus, won't step down as head of Westfield's remuneration committee
Flashback: When Barbara Amiel, the wife of Spectator owner Conrad Black, found it in her heart to write truly wonderful things about David Irving
Taki makes friends at Conrad Black's garden party
Battling B.C. Journalist Doug Collins writes to craven publisher Conrad Black
The New Statesman, a leading British weekly, has raised the specter of Jewish control over the media and government.
An email letter circulating in London identifies the Jewish directors of the British media
"You don't understand, Max. My entire interests in the United States and internationally could be seriously damaged by this" - Black to Max Hastings
French envoy to UK recalled (Black's wife repeated private dinner-party remark about Israel)
On-line edition of David Irvings irregular and scurrilous newsletter Action Report.
Robert Fisk accused BBC of buckling to Israeli pressure to drop the use of "assassination"
Frances ambassador to Britain cannot remember referring to Israel as that shitty little country during a private conversation with a newspaper owner, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
On-line edition of David Irving's irregular and scurrilous newsletter Action Report.
On-line edition of David Irving's irregular and scurrilous newsletter Action Report.
David Irving watches the state procession of the Queen Mother's coffin, and comments on the new England
David Irving jots some thoughts in his irregular Radical''s Diary: the growth of hidden censorship in Britain
Barbara Amiel writes truly wonderful things (among some gratuitous smears) about David Irving
Amazon.com tells Jerusalem Post to stop claiming the company supported Israel

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