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Ex-Hollinger CEO Black pleads not guilty to 8 fraud counts

[JURIST] Conrad Black [CBC Profile], press baron and former chairman of Hollinger International, pleaded not guilty to eight fraud charges during his arraignment in Chicago Thursday. Along with other former Hollinger executives, he is accused by the US government of diverting more than $80 million from Hollinger International and its shareholders during Hollinger's $2.1 billion sale of several hundred Canadian newspapers. Black also faces charges of misusing Hollinger funds for actions such as throwing a $40,000 birthday party for his wife with company money. Black, who was indicted [JURIST report; PDF text] on November 17th, failed to appear at the first scheduled arraignment [JURIST report] after his lawyers asked for more time to prepare the case. Hollinger International, the owner of the Chicago Sun-Times among other media holdings [Columbia Journalism Review report], is also currently suing Black [JURIST report] for diverting company funds for his own personal gain. Black could be sentenced to 40 years in prison and fines up to $2 million if convicted on all charges. CBC has more.

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