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Tuesday, December 12, 2006 

Prosecutors Outline Court Case Against Conrad Black

Federal prosecutors in the USA released an 81 page document on Monday which spelled out their criminal fraud case against former media baron Conrad Black. Here is an example:

In 2001, Black and his wife, Barbara Amiel, flew to Seattle on the corporate jet to see a performance of an opera. The trip to see the Ring Cycle was apparently an add-on to a 2001 trip to Bora Bora, French Polynesia, for a vacation, the documents suggest.

The Blacks flew on the corporate jet from Toronto to Bora Bora, back to Seattle for the operas, then back to Toronto. The cost for the trip was $565,326 (Canadian) and when Hollinger International's controller asked where the flights should be charged, the document alleges, Lord Black replied that because the flights were mainly within the U.S., "let's charge them to [Hollinger International]." He went on to say "I'm happy to pay, as to half, personally, if [this will] cause difficulties." Later in 2002, when the firm tried to charge him for the entire trip, Lord Black wrote in an e-mail that "needless to say, no such outcome is acceptable."

The documents quote Lord Black as asking that the firm pay most of a $54,000 birthday party he threw for his wife. On the invoice, Black wrote "Let's call it one-third personal and two-thirds corporate."

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