After eight years, the Ontario Securities Commission has restarted its stalled case against former newspaper magnate Conrad Black and two of his former Hollinger associates.
The securities watchdog had put its 2005 case against Mr. Black and his fellow former Hollinger executives John Boultbee and Peter Atkinson on hold, pending the outcome of appeals of their fraud convictions in the United States.
But those appeals, which saw some of Mr. Black’s counts of fraud struck down, are now exhausted, the OSC said on Friday in the amended statement of allegations it issued against Mr. Black and his two former executives.
The outspoken former newspaper publisher was sentenced to 42 months in a U.S. prison for fraud and obstruction of justice. Mr. Boultbee and Mr. Atkinson, were also convicted of fraud.
“I am looking forward to disposing of these allegations once and for all,” Mr. Black, who after completing his prison sentence in the United States now lives in Toronto, said in an e-mail.
A spokeswoman said in an e-mail that the OSC is seeking to make the men pay the commission “any amounts obtained as a result of non-compliance ... with Ontario securities law” as well as pay the OSC’s investigative and legal costs. The commission is also seeking to ban the men from acting as directors or officers of public companies and from trading or buying securities.
A hearing has been scheduled for Friday Aug. 16.
The OSC also announced Friday that it had withdrawn its allegations against Hollinger Inc., stating that the company was in court protection from its creditors and subject to a cease trade order. Last year, the OSC also settled its allegations with Mr. Black’s former associate David Radler, who had agreed to testify against Mr. Black and the others in the U.S. criminal proceeding.
In its amended statement of allegations against Mr. Black and the other two former executives, the OSC says the proceeding “arises out of a scheme” that allegedly saw the former Hollinger and Hollinger International Inc. directors and officers “divert certain proceeds from [Hollinger International] to themselves through contrived ‘non-competition’ payments” in the sale of some of the company’s newspapers.
“These former directors and officers did not obtain approval for the payments from [Hollinger International’s] Board of Directors and made misrepresentations regarding the payments in public disclosures,” the OSC allegations read.
Lawyers for Mr. Boultbee or Mr. Atkinson could not immediately be reached.