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Former Hollinger executives skip US arraignment on fraud charges

[JURIST] Former Hollinger International Inc. [corporate website] executives Jack Boultbee and Peter Atkinson failed to appear on Wednesday at the federal court in Chicago to be arraigned on fraud charges. Both Boultbee, who is charged with eight counts of fraud, and Atkinson, who faces six counts, are Canadian citizens. Assistant US Attorney Robert Kent said that prosecutors could initiate extradition proceedings [Bloomberg report] in several days if Boultbee fails to appear. Atkinson made arrangements to appear for arraignment on Thursday with former Hollinger CEO Conrad Black [CBC News profile; JURIST news archive], who also faces fraud charges [JURIST report]. All three have been charged in connection with allegedly defrauding investors for $84 million in corporate funds using illegal non-compete payments. Black also faces charges of misusing corporate funds on personal expenses and the corporate jet on personal trips. Kent said that a purported lawyer of Boultbee left a message for a prosecutor saying that Boultbee would not be able to be at the preliminary hearing Wednesday because he was attending to personal affairs. Black and the other former executives face civil claims relating to their conduct. Reuters has more.

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