Court ups Conrad Black's bail to $21M US
A U.S. judge raised Conrad Black's bond by $1 million in cash to $21 million US on Thursday, saying the toppled media baron had misrepresented how much he was worth.
The Canadian-born61-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 jailthe61-year-old.
"It's appropriate to increase the bond somewhat in this case," St. Eve told Black's lawyers on Thursday.
St. Eve said she would not offer an opinion on whether the initial underestimate of Black's wealth was intentional or not.
Black's defence lawyer said the extra $1 million would be paid by the deadline, Aug. 25.
Earlier, Black's $20-million bond had been secured by $30 million US in assets (including a Florida mansion), some of which are subject to forfeiture if he is convicted.
In his original filing used by the judge to set bond, Black underestimated the worth of some Canadian media holdings by millions. They have since been sold. He also left out a Canadian tax lien and a mortgage on his Florida property.
St. Eve expressed concern about how Black meets his current expenses and that he has continued to contest the government's seizure of the proceeds from the sale of his luxury New York condominium.
"I'm not here to micro-manage his finances, I'm here to assure bond is sufficient to assure his future appearances before this court," St. Eve said.