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Conrad Black ordered to pay $4.1 million to settle looting charges

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Updated: September 17, 2013 8:26AM

Conrad Black, the disgraced former owner of the Chicago Sun-Times, must pay $4.1 million in restitution to settle federal charges that he looted his former publishing company.

The settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission was announced Thursday. It bans Black, a Toronto resident, from serving as a director of a U.S. company.

U.S. District Judge William Harte approved the settlement, according to a filing the SEC published on its web site.

Black, who could not be reached for comment, had appealed an October 2012 ruling by Harte that he was liable to pay $6.1 million, the amount that his crimes cost his former company, Hollinger International. He served 37 months of a 42-month sentence on his conviction for fraud and obstruction of justice and got out of prison in May 2012.

The settlement directs that the restitution be paid to Chicago Newspaper Liquidation Corp., an operation handling the affairs of Hollinger’s successor company, Sun-Times Media Group. The successor firm filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and, as part of that process, the Sun-Times and the company’s other newspapers were sold.

The money will come from a $6.1 million escrow account Black had to establish as part of the litigation. The agreement said that after court costs are deducted, the balance will be returned to Black.

Black, 68, was convicted in 2007 with business partner F. David Radler of diverting proceeds from newspaper sales into their own pockets when the money should have gone to Hollinger shareholders.

Canada’s securities regulator is proceeding with a similar case against Black.

A British citizen with the title Lord Black of Crossharbour, Black is the author of several books, including an acclaimed study of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A Hollinger probe found that the company paid $8 million so Black could acquire some of FDR’s papers.

At one time, Hollinger also owned London’s Daily Telegraph, the Jerusalem Post and the National Post in Canada.

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