Monday, December 10, 2007

Powerful press baron sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison

CHICAGO - Conrad Black, once one of the world's most powerful press barons, will spend 6 1/2 years in a U.S. federal prison for stealing millions from Hollinger International Inc., a judge ruled Monday.

"Mr. Black, you have violated your duty to Hollinger International and its shareholders," Judge Amy St. Eve told him. "I frankly cannot understand how somebody of your stature could engage in the conduct you engaged in and put everything at risk, including your reputation."

St. Eve also fined Black, who is also a member of the British House of Lords, $125,000 US and ordered him to forfeit $6.1 million US, but will allow him to keep his mansion in Palm Beach, Fla.

He has been ordered to surrender to a federal prison on March 3.

The former chairman and chief executive officer of Hollinger International which was at one time one of the world's largest media empires, remained expressionless as he was sentenced. He intends to appeal the verdict and file a bail application before his surrender date.

Here's the bizarre part of this story...
Black's lawyers presented the judge with about 100 letters from his supporters including Elton John and former prime minister Brian Mulroney. Elton John described him as a "deeply loyal friend."

Elton John? Elton Freaking John? Crocodile Rock Elton John? Hey, I'll hop on the bandwagon and support this accused thief if Elton's doing it!

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