Conrad Black fraud charges

US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced the indictment in Chicago, culminating months of investigations into malfeasance at what had been a sprawling global media empire.

Lord Black, who renounced Canadian citizenship to become a member of the British House of Lords, was added to the defendants in an earlier indictment alleging the misappropriation of A$44 million from the media company.

He was also charged in a new scheme that improperly diverted A$71 million from the 2000 sale of a group of Hollinger newspapers to CanWest of Canada.

“Officers and directors of publicly traded companies who steer shareholders’ money into their pockets should not lie to the board of directors to get permission to do so,” Mr Fitzgerald said in a statement.

“Insiders at Hollinger all the way to the top of the corporate ladder whose job it was to safeguard the shareholders made it their jobs to steal and conceal.”

Lord Black created a Chicago-based media group called Hollinger International that was the operating company for its newspapers. It still owns the Chicago Sun-Times.

The company was controlled through Canadian-based holding firm Hollinger Inc., which in turn was controlled by Hollinger’s personal holding company Ravelston.

Lord Black and his closest deputies have been under criminal and securities investigation in the United States and Canada for allegedly siphoning money and assets from Hollinger’s Chicago-based subsidiary Hollinger International Inc.

Since Lord Black’s troubles emerged, his media empire has been broken up, with newspapers including the Daily Telegraph of London and the Jerusalem Post sold off.

A superseding indictment unsealed in Chicago named Black along with Hollinger International’s former chief financial officer John Boultbee; former vice president and general counsel Peter Atkinson; another vice president and attorney Mark Kipnis; and Ravelston.

David Radler, the former publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, was indicted in August. At the time, prosecutors said he was co-operating with the investigation.