Conrad Black faces new charges

U.S. prosecutors have altered the indictment against Conrad Black, the former head of the Hollinger Inc. media group, to include charges of tax evasion.

Conrad Black faces new charges of tax evasion brought by U.S. prosecutors.

A new indictment against the former head of the Hollinger Inc. media company includes charges of evading taxes and some changes to earlier charges.

The indictment alleges that Black and his co-accused John Boultbee, Peter Atkinson and Mark Kipnis, "wilfully caused Hollinger International Inc., to file false United States corporate income tax returns by underreporting total corporate income by approximately $13 million and $16 million, respectively, for 1999 and 2000."

Prosecutors are also seeking the forfeit of a 26-carat diamond ring bought by Black for more than $2.6 million US, plus assorted antiques and other jewelry that he bought for more than $600,000 US.

Without seeing the revised indictment, Black's lawyer, Edward Greenspan, scorned the new charges.

"It has been our position from the very outset that the prosecutor has a weak case and that we will be vindicated at the trial," Greenspan said. "Adding even more unfounded charges doesn't make the prosecutor's case any better."

On Aug. 10, a U.S. judge raised Black's bond by $1 million in cash to $21 million US, saying the toppled media baron had misrepresented how much he was worth.

The Canadian-born 61-year-old is scheduled to go on trial in March 2007 on racketeering and fraud charges, accused of looting millions of dollars from Hollinger International Inc. when he headed the media empire.

Judge Amy St. Eve of the U.S. District Court in Chicago, who is overseeing Black's upcoming trial, agreed with prosecutors that Black had misstated the worth of his assets, but denied their request to revoke his bond and jail the 61-year-old.

With files from the Canadian Press