In Depth

Conrad Black

Conrad Black: Timeline

Last Updated June 23, 2009

Conrad Black

June 22, 2009:
Black makes a second bail request while he appeals his fraud conviction.

June 11, 2009:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens denies Black's request for bail.

May 18, 2009:
The U.S. Supreme Court says it will review Black's fraud conviction. The justices will hear arguments from Black's legal team later this year.

Jan. 9, 2009:
Conrad Black asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case in a last-ditch effort to overturn his conviction. The court is expected to rule by March 13 but the bid, experts say, is unlikely to succeed. Black's appeal for clemency from departing President George W. Bush is not granted.

June 25, 2008:
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday upholds Conrad Black's 2007 convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice

June 5, 2008:
Lawyers for Conrad Black face tough questioning from a panel of three appeals court judges during a short hearing in Chicago.

March 14, 2008:
Conrad Black's lawyers file an appeal of his convictions, arguing that U.S. prosecutors failed to prove their case against the former press baron.

March 3, 2008:
Conrad Black reports to a prison complex in Coleman, Florida, to begin serving his 78-month sentence.

Feb. 28, 2008:
Conrad Black loses his attempt to stay free on bond until his appeal is heard and is ordered to report to prison on March 3. The U.S. Court of Appeals does, however, agree to let Black's two co-defendants remain out of jail while they appeal their fraud sentences.

Feb. 21, 2008:
Conrad Black asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for permission to remain on bail until his appeal is heard. His lawyers argue that a short delay of his surrender date would not "undermine the goals of the justice system."

Dec. 10, 2007:
Conrad Black is sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison, is fined $125,000 US and ordered to pay $6.1 million US in restitution. He must report to a minimum-security federal facility in Florida on March 3, and will remain free until then.

Dec. 5, 2007:
In e-mails to CBC and other media organizations, Black says he'll cope with jail, "if it comes to that," but vows to keep up the fight to clear his name. A prison term, he said, would "only compound the injustice of this entire vendetta."

Nov. 5, 2007:
Conrad Black's bid for a new trial is rejected. "The government introduced more than enough evidence to support each defendant's conviction on the mail fraud counts and defendant Black's obstruction of justice conviction," Judge Amy St. Eve rules.

July 13, 2007:
After 15 weeks of testimony, more than 40 witnesses and about 700 documents, jury deliberations lasted for 12 days before Black was convicted of obstruction of justice and three counts of mail fraud. His lawyers quickly vowed to appeal. Black's co-accused were each found guilty of three counts of mail fraud. Sentencing was set for Nov. 30.

March 14, 2007:
Jury selection begins in Chicago. The trial of Conrad Black and three co-accused is expected to take three months. Some 300 journalists from the U.S., Canada, Britain and Europe are accredited to cover the proceedings.

March 5, 2007:
Ravelston Corp., a private holding company used by Conrad Black to control the Hollinger newspaper empire, pleads guilty to a single count of mail fraud and agrees to pay a fine of $7 million US. Black's lawyers had tried to block the Ravelston plea.

Feb. 19, 2007:
Conrad Black files an $11-million libel suit against British author Tom Bower, whose unflattering book, Conrad & Lady Black: Dancing on the Edge, outraged the couple.

Jan. 23, 2007:
Judge Amy St. Eve rules that Conrad Black and his three co-defendants will be tried together. She denies a motion by the lesser-known co-defendants to be tried apart from Black. St. Eve said she would address their concerns through "appropriate jury instructions."

Sept. 25, 2006:
Conrad Black tells TVOntario that he is working to regain the Canadian citizenship he renounced in 2001 to sit in the British House of Lords. "I always said that I would take my citizenship back, and if it wasn't for all these legal problems, I would have done it by now," he tells interviewer Steve Paikin. Black calls himself a "freedom fighter."

Aug. 18, 2006:
Conrad Black and three co-accused are charged with tax evasion for allegedly causing Hollinger International to under-report corporate income of $13 million US to $16 million US in 1999 and 2000. The next month, Black pleads not guilty.

Aug. 10, 2006:
Judge Amy St. Eve ups Conrad Black's bond by $1 million US to $21 million US, saying the former media baron had misrepresented how much he was worth. She denied a prosecution request to revoke Black's bail and have him jailed.

June 26, 2006:

A U.S. judge decides not to revoke Conrad Black's $20-million US bond. U.S. prosecutors had accused Black of misleading authorities about the extent of his assets, and demanded he put up more collateral or be thrown in jail. The judge decided not to put the former newspaper tycoon in jail, but asked Black's lawyers for a revised financial statement before deciding whether to increase the bond.

June 19, 2006:
U.S. prosecutors file documents with a Chicago court accusing Conrad Black of misleading authorities about the value of assets used to secure his bail. They demand the bail be revoked unless he puts up more of his holdings.

Dec. 16, 2005:
A U.S. Federal Court judge sets March 5, 2007, as the date for Conrad Black's trial on charges of fraud, racketeering and obstruction of justice to open. Black faces a maximum of 95 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Dec. 15, 2005:
Conrad Black faces four new charges, including racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice. The last charge relates to the removal of boxes of documents from Hollinger's offices in May 2005. If convicted of all 12 charges he now faces, he could get 95 years.

Dec. 7, 2005:
John Boultbee - the accountant who served as chief financial officer of Conrad Black's publishing empire - pleads not guilty in a Chicago courtroom, to fraud charges involving the sale of hundreds of Canadian newspapers. He is ordered released after posting bail of $1.5 million and waiving his right to contest any future extradition from Canada. Boultbee is facing eight counts of mail and wire fraud.

Dec. 1, 2005:
Conrad Black appears in a Chicago courtroom and pleads not guilty to fraud charges in connection with the alleged looting of $80 million from Hollinger International Inc., the newspaper empire he once controlled. The plea was entered on Black's behalf by his U.S. lawyer Edward Genson. Black is facing a total of eight counts of fraud.

Black is released on $20 million bail. He is ordered to live only in Canada, Chicago, or Florida. His travel is restricted to between Canada and the United States. He waives his right to contest any extradition attempt should he not turn up for trial later.

Nov. 29, 2005:
Conrad Black's arraignment on fraud charges is delayed again. This time it's put off a day (until Dec. 1) because of scheduling conflicts involving Black's two new Chicago lawyers, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Nov. 22, 2005:
Conrad Black fails to show up at a Chicago courthouse to face fraud charges. His lawyer assures the U.S. Attorney's Office that he will come on Nov. 30. American officials initially said they would start extradition proceedings against Black if he didn't appear in court.

Nov. 17, 2005
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago charges Conrad Black with eight counts of mail fraud and wire fraud. The indictment alleges Black and three other former Hollinger International executives pocketed millions of dollars from the company's sale of newspaper assets to CanWest Global in 2000.

Nov. 3, 2005
Black sues the U.S. government, claiming the Federal Bureau of Investigation improperly seized almost $9 million US of his money.

Oct. 7, 2005
U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago seizes $9 million US from sale of Conrad Black's New York apartment, saying proceeds were accumulated as part of an alleged fraud scheme.

Sept. 20, 2005
Former Black associate and long-time friend David Radler pleads guilty to mail fraud in connection with plan to divert $32 million US from Hollinger International. Receives reduced sentence of 29 months in return for promise of cooperation.

May 25, 2005
Conrad Black, his chauffeur, and his personal assistant are caught on security video removing 12 boxes of files from Hollinger Inc.'s Toronto headquarters. The removal occurs despite an Ontario court order that bars Black from taking documents from the building. Black's lawyer says the boxes contain "personal" items that aren't covered by the court order.

April 20, 2005:
Conrad Black – and his longtime business partner David Radler – resign as officers and directors of Ravelston Corp., the private holding company through which Black controlled his crumbling media empire. The announcement was made in Ontario Superior Court as Ravelston applied for bankruptcy protection. The company says it has run out of money because it is no longer receiving management fees from Hollinger Inc. and Hollinger International.

March 23, 2005:
U.S. federal prosecutors confirm that Black, top lieutenant David Radler and Hollinger Inc. are the subject of a criminal investigation. The government tipped its hand when if filed court papers asking to intervene in the SEC lawsuit against Black, Radler and Hollinger.

March 18, 2005:
The Ontario Securities Commission files notice that it intends to launch proceedings against Black, Hollinger Inc., and three former associates for alleged violations of securities laws. In the statement of allegations, the OSC accuses Black of "egregious conduct."

Feb. 24, 2005:
Black drops his $2.1-million defamation lawsuit against Toronto Life. The magazine printed an apology in its February issue for a satirical story in its July 2004 issue depicting Black as "so irredeemably evil that he should be consigned to Hell."

Jan. 28, 2005:
Hollinger Inc. agrees to put a $47.3-million US share of a dividend being paid out by Hollinger International into an escrow account. The money will remain frozen until the SEC actions against Hollinger and Black are resolved.

Dec. 30, 2004:
Black is named Canadian business newsmaker of the year by the Canadian Press and Broadcast News.

Nov. 22, 2004:
An Ontario Superior Court Judge orders three directors of Hollinger Inc., including Black's wife and the company's chief operating officer, removed from the board of directors immediately.

Nov. 15, 2004:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lays a civil fraud lawsuit against Conrad Black, Hollinger's former deputy chairman and chief operating officer David Radler, and Hollinger Inc. It accuses Black and Radler of improperly diverting tens of millions of dollars from Hollinger International.

Nov. 2, 2004:
Conrad Black resigns as chairman and chief executive of Hollinger Inc.

Oct. 8, 2004:
A U.S. Federal Court judge throws out Hollinger International's $1.25-billion US racketeering lawsuit against Conrad Black and other former executives of the company.

Oct. 1, 2004:
Conrad Black files a $1.1-billion defamation lawsuit against a special committee of Hollinger International. The board released a report on Aug. 31, 2004, that accused him of looting the company.

Sept. 7, 2004:

A group of five Canadian investors launches a class-action lawsuit against Conrad Black, his wife Barbara Amiel, his chief lieutenant David Radler and others, seeking at least $4 billion in damages. The suit seeks to recover market losses that may have been caused by controversies involving Black's management and allegations he and associates took hundreds of millions of dollars they weren't entitled to.

Aug. 31, 2004:
A special committee of Hollinger International issues a report saying former CEO Conrad Black and other executives took hundreds of millions of dollars they weren't entitled to. The report is made public by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Black's holding company, Ravelston Corp., dismisses the report, saying it was full of "misrepresentations and inaccuracies."

July 30, 2004:
The Delaware Supreme Court denies a Hollinger Inc. appeal of the ruling.

July 29, 2004:

Hollinger International announces it had completed the sale of the Telegraph Group to Britain's Barclay brothers.

July 29, 2004:
A Delaware Chancery Court judge rules that a shareholder vote on Hollinger International's sale of the Telegraph Group was not necessary and that it did not constitute "substantially all" of Hollinger International's assets.

July 1, 2004:
Hollinger Inc. launches a lawsuit against Hollinger International over the $1.8-billion sale of the Telegraph Group Ltd. to the Barclay brothers. It wants to force a shareholder vote on the sale.

June 24, 2004:
Hollinger International announces the sale of Chicago real estate worth $73 million US to Donald Trump amid reports that Black would try to block the deal. The building was the headquarters of Hollinger's Chicago Sun-Times paper.

June 23, 2004:
Hollinger Inc. claims the sale of Hollinger International's main asset, Britain's Telegraph newspaper group, must be approved by its shareholders. If this were the case, it would give Black (as one of Hollinger International's controlling shareholders) the power to veto the sale.

June 22, 2004:

Hollinger International announces the sale of its Telegraph Group in London for $1.65 billion.

June 8, 2004:
Conrad Black loses his bid to have an injunction lifted that bans him from interfering with Hollinger International's sale plans for the Telegraph newspaper group. At the same time, Hollinger International's attempt to prolong the ban is also rejected. The ban will remain in place until the end of October 2004.

May 7, 2004:
Hollinger International amends its lawsuit against Conrad Black, alleging he and his associates engaged in racketeering. This allows Hollinger International to seek triple damages under U.S. anti-corruption laws.

March 23, 2004:
Hollinger Inc. announces it would pay the $7.4 million US in interest it owes but would not accept a loan from Hollinger International.

March 12, 2004:

Hollinger Inc. announces it will appeal the judgment that prevented Black from selling control of his newspaper group to Britain's Barclay brothers.

March 8, 2004:
Conrad Black is removed as chairman of the London, England-based Telegraph Group by its directors.

March 5, 2004:

Hollinger International offers Hollinger Inc. $7.4 million US to make an overdue interest payment on its debt.

March 2, 2004:

The Barclay brothers' Press Holdings pulls its $605-million offer for Conrad Black's Hollinger Inc.

March 1, 2004:
Hollinger Inc. fails to meet the deadline to make a $7.4-million US interest payment on one of its bonds. It has 30 days to make the payment.

Feb. 26, 2004:

Delaware Judge Leo Strine, blocks Conrad Black from selling Hollinger Inc. to Britain's Barclay brothers Press Holdings International, saying it would hurt the interests of Hollinger International's minority shareholders. Hollinger International is "extremely pleased" by the ruling. Hollinger Inc. owns 72.6 per cent of Hollinger International. Pundits speculate that this is a huge loss for Black.

Feb. 18, 2004:

Black appears in a Delaware court to defend himself against the lawsuit Hollinger International launched Jan. 17. The case is expected to centre on the issue of shareholder rights: whether a majority shareholder should be stopped from doing something that disadvantages minorities. A verdict is expected by Feb. 27.

Feb. 13, 2004:

Black files a lawsuit in Toronto seeking damages of $850 million for defamation from a number of Hollinger International directors.

Feb. 3, 2004:
Black countersues to safeguard the transaction, alleging "blatant thievery" of his rights.

Jan. 26, 2004:
Hollinger International launches a lawsuit seeking to stop Black from selling his 73 per cent voting stake in the company to Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay.

Jan. 19, 2004:

Black files court injunction in Ontario Superior Court to stop Hollinger International, and some of its directors from interfering with the sale.

Jan. 18, 2004:
Black announces sale of his stake in Hollinger Inc. to Press Holding International for $600 million. The deal would give Press Holdings control of Hollinger International.

Jan. 17, 2004:

The Hollinger International newspaper chain removes Conrad Black as its chairman and announces a $200 million US lawsuit against Black and associate David Radler over alleged financial irregularities.

Dec. 28, 2003:

The Canadian Press names Black business newsmaker of the year.

Dec. 22, 2003:
Black called before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission but refuses to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Nov. 21, 2003:

Hollinger International announces past earnings were overstated by $17 million US because of unauthorized non-compete payments to Black and others.

Nov. 18, 2003:

A defiant Black attends promotional event for his latest book, a biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Faces horde of reporters who grill him about allegations and said he agreed to repay $7.2 million US but would remain chairman of Hollinger International.

Nov. 17, 2003:
Black steps down as CEO of Hollinger International and puts the company up for sale.

Nov. 12, 2003:
Reports say American financier Nelson Peltz is negotiating to take control of the Hollinger newspaper group.

June 17, 2003:
Hollinger International starts an investigation into $74 million US in "non-compete" fees paid to Black, other Hollinger executives and Black's Ravelston Corp.

May 22, 2003:
Black agrees to loosen his grip on Hollinger International after shareholders complain about the poor performance of his newspaper empire.

April 2, 2003:
Hollinger International Inc. reports loss of $238.8 million US for 2002, with no sign of upturn in 2003.

Nov. 28, 2001:
Hollinger sells its 15 per cent stake in CanWest for $271 million as the company continues to reduce debt.

Oct. 30, 2001:
Black is given the title of Lord Black of Crossharbour as he takes his seat in the British House of Lords, the upper chamber of the British Parliament. He surrenders his Canadian citizenship to gain the peerage.

July 31, 2001:
Hollinger sells most of its remaining Canadian newspapers to a company controlled by Michael Sifton, a Hollinger executive. Soon after, it sells the rest of the National Post to CanWest.

Aug. 2, 2000:
Hollinger sells its remaining U.S. community newspapers to four buyers for $215 million US, including 11 dailies, three non-dailies and 31 "shoppers."

July 31, 2000:
In a deal with CanWest Global Communications, Hollinger sells its 13 major Canadian newspapers, 126 community newspapers, internet properties and half of the National Post for $3.2 billion.

April 25, 2000:
Hollinger puts 350 North American newspapers up for sale to pay off its bank debt. By the end of the year, the selloff would bring in $4 billion.

Sept. 27, 1999:
Conrad Black gets back the first newspaper he ever owned when Hollinger acquires the Sherbrooke Record in a swap with Quebecor Inc.

Oct. 27, 1998:
First issue of the National Post is published, spawning a newspaper war involving The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun.

Black publishes a memoir, A Life in Progress.

November 1992:
Hollinger buys a 23 per cent interest in the Southam chain from Torstar Corp.

Black's company buys controlling interest in the Jerusalem Post, the largest English-language daily newspaper in Israel, for $17 million.

Feb. 1, 1988:
Hollinger buys 15 per cent of the Financial Post for $6.9 million.

October-November 1987:
The company increases its interest in the London Daily Telegraph.

July 1987:
A subsidiary of Hollinger buys the magazine Saturday Night.

Hollinger acquires the remaining shares of Sterling Newspapers Ltd., a B.C. newspaper chain, 22 small-town newspapers in the U.S., three weekly papers in New York, and three French-language dailies and 20 weekly papers in Quebec.

Sept. 17, 1985:
Argcen Holdings, Hollinger Argus Ltd. and Labmin Resources Ltd. are amalgamated into Hollinger Inc.

Norcen sells its stake after Hanna alleges the purchase was a precursor to a takeover bid, a breach of U.S. federal and Ohio state securities laws. Black signs an agreement to not violate provisions of the Securities and Exchange Act.

Norcen Energy, a company owned by Black and his father, buys stake in Hanna Mining.

Sells the Sherbrooke Record.

Publishes biography of Maurice Duplessis.

Awarded a master's degree in history from McGill University.

Buys La Nouvelle Revue.

Co-founds Sterling Newspapers.

Is awarded a law degree from Laval University.

Black's family founds Ravelston Corporation as vehicle for stakes in holding companies.

Buys the Sherbrooke Daily Record.

Buys the Eastern Townships Advertiser in Quebec.

Graduates with bachelor of arts in history from Carleton University.

Aug 25, 1944:
Conrad Moffat Black born in Montreal.

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External Links

Hollinger investigation
Black indictment (pdf file)
Hollinger Inc.
The House of Lords

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