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Conrad Black

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Title: Conrad Black  
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Subject: Barbara Amiel, The Life and Times of Conrad Black, Conrad and Lady Black: Dancing on the Edge, Hollinger Inc., White's
Collection: 1944 Births, 20Th-Century Biographers, 20Th-Century British Criminals, 20Th-Century Canadian Writers, 20Th-Century Politicians, 20Th-Century Publishers, 21St-Century British Criminals, 21St-Century Canadian Writers, 21St-Century Politicians, Anglophone Quebec People, British Biographers, British Columnists, British Historians, British Mass Media Owners, British Newspaper Chain Founders, British Newspaper Publishers (People), British People Imprisoned Abroad, British Politicians Convicted of Fraud, British Roman Catholics, Businesspeople from Montreal, Businesspeople from Toronto, Canadian Autobiographers, Canadian Biographers, Canadian Business Hall of Fame, Canadian Chairmen of Corporations, Canadian Columnists, Canadian Emigrants to the United Kingdom, Canadian Expatriates in Foreign Political Positions, Canadian Historians, Canadian Male Writers, Canadian Memoirists, Canadian Monarchists, Canadian Newspaper Chain Founders, Canadian Newspaper Publishers (People), Canadian Peers, Canadian Television Hosts, Canadian White-Collar Criminals, Carleton University Alumni, Chicago Sun-Times People, Conservative Party (Uk) Life Peers, Converts to Roman Catholicism from Atheism or Agnosticism, Directors of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Historians of the United States, Living People, Mail and Wire Fraud, Male Biographers, McGill University Alumni, Members of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group, National Post People, Ottawa Citizen People, People Convicted of Obstruction of Justice, People Expelled from the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, People Removed from the Order of Canada, People Stripped of a British Commonwealth Honour, Politicians Convicted of Honest Services Fraud, Prisoners and Detainees of the United States Federal Government, Université Laval Alumni, Upper Canada College Alumni, Writers from Montreal, Writers from Toronto
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Conrad Black

The Right Honourable
The Lord Black of Crossharbour
Black's mugshot at the time of his 2005 indictment for fraud
Born Conrad Moffat Black
(1944-08-25) 25 August 1944
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian (1944–2001)
British (1999–present)
Education Carleton University (BA)
Université Laval (LL.L.)
McGill University (M.A.)
Occupation Former newspaper publisher, author, columnist, investor
Home town Toronto, Ontario
Net worth $80 million (2011)[2]
Religion Catholic
Spouse(s) Joanna Hishon (1978–1992)
Barbara Amiel, Lady Black (m. 1992)
Children 2 sons, 1 daughter
Parent(s) George Montegu Black II, Jean Elizabeth Riley

Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, KSG (born 25 August 1944) is a Canadian-born British former newspaper publisher and author. He is a non-affiliated life peer, and a convicted felon in the United States for fraud.[n 1] Black controlled Hollinger International, once the world's third-largest English-language newspaper empire,[3] which published The Daily Telegraph (UK), Chicago Sun Times (U.S.), The Jerusalem Post (Israel), National Post (Canada), and hundreds of community newspapers in North America, before he was fired by the board of Hollinger in 2004.[4]

In 2004, a shareholder-initiated prosecution of Black began in the United States. Over $80 million in assets claimed to have been improperly taken or inappropriately spent by Black.[5] He was convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice in a U.S. court in 2007 and sentenced to six and a half years' imprisonment. In 2011 two of the charges were overturned on appeal and he was re-sentenced to 42 months in prison on one count of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.[6] Black was released on 4 May 2012.[7]


  • Early life and family 1
    • Education 1.1
    • Marriages 1.2
    • Religion 1.3
  • Career 2
    • Corporate ownership through holding companies 2.1
    • Dominion pension dispute 2.2
    • Industrial holdings shifted to publishing 2.3
    • Growth and divestment of press holdings 2.4
    • Fate of Hollinger 2.5
    • Talk show 2.6
  • Lifestyle 3
  • Fraud conviction and Supreme Court review 4
  • Ontario Securities Commission 5
  • Canada Revenue Agency 6
  • Peerage controversy and citizenship 7
  • Order of Canada and Queen's Privy Council for Canada 8
  • Books and other publications 9
  • Biographies and portrayal in popular culture 10
  • Notes and references 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13

Early life and family

Black was born in Great-West Life Assurance Company, and a great-granddaughter of an early co-owner of the Daily Telegraph.

Biographer George Toombs said of Black's motivations: "He was born into a very large family of athletic, handsome people. He wasn't particularly athletic or handsome like they were, so he developed a different skill – wordplay, which he practiced a lot with his father."[8] Black has written that his father was “cultured [and] humorous" and that his mother was a "natural, convivial, and altogether virtuous person."[9] Of his older brother George Montegu Black III (Monte), Black has written that he was "one of the greatest natural athletes I have known," and that though "generally more sociable than I was, he was never a cad or even inconstant, or ever an ungenerous friend or less than a gentleman."[10]


Black was first educated at Upper Canada College (UCC), during which time, at age eight, he invested his life savings of $60 in one share of General Motors.[11] Six years later, according to Tom Bower's biography Dancing on the Edge,[12] he was expelled from UCC for selling stolen exam papers. He then attended Trinity College School where he lasted less than a year, being expelled for insubordinate behaviour. Black eventually graduated from a small, now defunct, private school in Toronto called Thornton Hall, continuing on to post-secondary education at Carleton University (History, 1965). He attended Toronto's Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, but his studies ended after he failed his first year exams.[12] He completed a law degree at Université Laval (Law, 1970), and in 1973 completed a Master of Arts degree in History at McGill University.[13] Black's thesis, later published as a biography, was on Quebec premier Maurice Duplessis. Black had been granted access to Duplessis' papers, housed in Duplessis' former residence in Trois-Rivières,[14] which included "figures from the famous Union Nationale Caisse Electorale (the party war chest), a copy of the Leader of the Opposition's tax returns, [and] gossip from bishops,"[9] as well as "historically significant letters from Cardinal Jean-Marie-Rodrigue Villeneuve side-by-side with hand-written, ungrammatical requests for jobs with the Quebec Liquor Board, unpaid bills, the returns of his ministers who were cheating on their taxes, a number of scribbled notes for Assembly speeches, tidbits of political espionage, compromising photographs, [and] a ledger listing the political contributions of every tavern-keeper in the province."[14] Black subsequently had the principal items from the papers copied and microfilmed, and donated copies to McGill, York, and Windsor universities.[9]


Black's first marriage was in 1978 to Joanna Hishon of Montreal, who worked as a secretary in his brother Montegu's brokerage office. The couple had two sons and a daughter.[15] They separated in 1991. Their divorce was finalized in 1992; that same year Black married British-born journalist Barbara Amiel. Black flattered Amiel, describing her variously as "beautiful, brilliant, ideologically a robust spirit" and "chic, humorous and preternaturally sexy." Courtroom evidence revealed that the couple exchanged over 11,000 emails.[8] In a February 2011, public Valentine greeting, Black wrote:

"I have been persecuted and Barbara was under no obligation to share fully in the life-enhancing and undoubtedly character-building experience of sharing that fate with me completely. But she has, and no one can know, and it is beyond my power adequately to express here, what her constancy has meant to me. For more than four years before I was sent to prison, she toiled with me against the heavy odds generated by the legal and media onslaught. She endured an avalanche of abuse directed at her (although she wasn't accused of anything) as extravagant, flakey, apt to bolt, domineering, and what Kafka called 'nameless crimes.' For the next 29 months, she led a lonely life in Florida, in a climate that aggravated her medical problems. And once or twice every week, she got up at 3 a.m. to drive over four hours to see me."[16]


"My family," Black wrote in 2009, "was divided between atheism and agnosticism, and I followed rather unthinkingly and inactively in those paths into my twenties." By his early thirties he "no longer had any confidence in the non-existence of God." Thereafter, he "approached Rome at a snail's pace," and began to study the writings of Roman Catholic thinkers such as St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Newman, and Jacques Maritain.[17] Having accepted the possibility of miracles and thus of the Resurrection of Christ, Black was received into the Catholic Church on 18 June 1986 by Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter, Archbishop of Toronto.[9] Black would develop a close friendship with Carter and rely on him as a spiritual advisor. On Carter's death, Black wrote: “In the 25 years I knew him, his judgment and personality were always sober but never solemn; and never, not at his most beleaguered and not on the verge of death, did he show a trace of despair. He was intellectual but practical, spiritual but not sanctimonious or utopian, proud but never arrogant. He must have had faults, but I never detected any. He was a great man, yet the salt of the earth.”[18]

In 2001, Black was invested as a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, a Papal order of chivalry.

Black has written that his faith helped him endure his imprisonment in the United States.[19] Black is also a major shareholder in The Catholic Herald,[19] and was the vice-president of Paul-Émile Cardinal Léger's charity for a number of years.[20]


Black became involved in a number of businesses, mainly publishing newspapers, and briefly in mining. In 1966, Black bought his first newspaper, the Eastern Townships Advertiser in Quebec. Following the foundation as an investment vehicle of the Ravelston Corporation by the Black family in 1969, Black, together with friends David Radler, and Peter G. White, purchased and operated the Sherbrooke Record, the small English language daily in Sherbrooke, Quebec. In 1971, the three formed Sterling Newspapers Limited, a holding company that would acquire several other small Canadian regional newspapers.

Corporate ownership through holding companies

George Black died in June 1976, leaving Conrad Black and his older brother, Montegu, a 22.4% stake in Ravelston Corporation, which by then owned 61% voting control of Argus Corporation, an influential holding company in Canada. Argus controlled large stakes in seven Canadian corporations: Labrador Mining, Noranda Mines, Hollinger Mines, Standard Broadcasting, Dominion Stores, Domtar and Massey-Ferguson.[21]

In 1977, Black became a director of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.[22]

Through his father's holdings in Ravelston, Black gained early association with two of Canada's most prominent businessmen: Bud McDougald and E. P. Taylor, president and founder of Argus, respectively. Following McDougald's death in 1978, Black paid $30-million to take control of Ravelston and thereby, control of Toronto-based Argus. This arrangement resulted in accusations that Black had taken advantage of the widows of Ravelston Directors McDougald and Eric Phillips. Though these accusations were never proven, interviews with the widows in their retirement homes in Florida were aired 21 September 1980 in the episode of the CBC's The Canadian Establishment entitled "Ten Toronto Street." This program is still available through the National Film Board of Canada Library. This episode covered the period during which Conrad black became chairman of Argus Corporation following the death of John A. "Bud" McDougald. Patrick Watson, the host and narrator of series interviewed the two widows in their Florida retirement homes.[23] Black, for his part, recorded that the widows "understood and approved every letter of every word of the agreement".[9] Other observers admired Black for marshaling enough investor support to win control without committing a large block of personal assets.[21]

Some of the Argus assets were already troubled, and others did not fit Black's long-term vision. Black resigned as Chairman of Massey Ferguson company in 1979, after which Argus donated its shares to the employees pension funds (both salaried and union).[24] Hollinger Mines was then turned into a holding company that initially focused on resource-based businesses.[21]

In 1981 Norcen Energy, one of his companies, acquired a minority position in Ohio-based Hanna Mining Co. A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Norcen took "an investment position" in Hanna. The filing did not disclose that Norcen's board planned to seek majority control. Black subsequently was charged by the SEC with filing misleading public statements. These charges were later withdrawn.[25]

Dominion pension dispute

In 1984, Black withdrew over $56 million from the Dominion workers' pension plan surplus without consulting plan members. The firm said it considered the surplus the rightful property of the employer (Dominion Stores Ltd.). The Dominion Union complained, a public outcry ensued, and the case went to court. The Supreme Court of Ontario ruled against the company, and ordered the company to return the money to the pension fund, claiming that though the most recent language in the plan suggested the employer had ownership of the surplus, the original intention was to keep the surplus in the plan to increase members' benefits.[26] Eventually, the pension dispute was settled in equal shares between the shareholders and the plan members.[9]

Industrial holdings shifted to publishing

Over time, Black focused formerly diverse activities of his companies on newspaper publishing. Argus Corporation, once Canada's most important conglomerate, divested itself of interests in manufacturing, mining, retailing, banking, and broadcasting. Canadian writer [28]

Growth and divestment of press holdings

In 1985, Andrew Knight, then editor of The Economist, asked Black to invest in the ailing Telegraph Group, and Black was able to gain control of the Group for £30 million.[9] By this investment, Black made his first entry into British press ownership. Five years later, he bought The Jerusalem Post, and by 1990, his companies ran over 400 newspaper titles in North America, the majority of them small community papers. For a time from this date he headed the third-largest newspaper group in the world.[29]

Hollinger bought a 23% stake in the Southam newspaper chain in 1992[13] and acquired the Chicago Sun-Times in 1994. Hollinger International shares were listed on New York Stock Exchange in 1996, at which time the company boosted its stake in Southam to a control position.[20] Becoming a public company trading in the U.S. has been called "a fateful move, exposing Black's empire to America's more rigorous regulatory regime and its more aggressive institutional shareholders."[24]

Under Black, Hollinger launched the National Post in Toronto in 1998. From 1999 to 2000 Hollinger International sold several newspapers in five deals worth a total of US$679-million, a total that included millions of dollars in "non-compete agreements" for Hollinger insiders.[30] Later in the year, Hollinger International announced the sale of thirteen major Canadian newspapers, 126 community newspapers, internet properties and half of the National Post to CanWest Global Communications Corp. Hollinger International sold the rest of the National Post to CanWest in the summer of 2001.

Fate of Hollinger

The Hollinger group of companies was effectively dismantled as a result of criminal and civil lawsuits in relation to sales of papers and intellectual property to third parties, most alleging misrepresentation and some alleging false or deliberately misleading accounts having been presented. The costs incurred by Hollinger International through the investigation of Black and his associates climbed to US$200 million.[31] Black claims that a significant portion of the sums paid by Hollinger International went to Richard Breeden, the lead investigator.[20] After Black was forced to resign from the board of Hollinger, many of Hollinger International's assets ended up being sold at prices significantly lower than those contemplated by incomplete talks while Black was with the company.[32] In the early 2000s, Black had accurately anticipated the decline in profitability of print media assets and sought to divest those types of assets held by Hollinger before their value was irrevocably diminished. The main criminal sanction on Black not overturned is specifically one of misleading investors.[32]

Talk show

It was announced 29 January 2013, that Black will co-host a weekly talk show, Zoomer, on VisionTV in Canada.[33]


Born to a rich family, Black acquired the family home and 7 acres (2.8 ha) of land in Toronto's exclusive Bridle Path neighbourhood after his father's death in 1976. Black and first wife Joanna Hishon maintained homes in Palm Beach, Toronto and London. After he married Barbara Amiel, he acquired a luxury Park Avenue apartment in New York. When sold in 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice seized net proceeds of $8.5 million, pending resolution of court actions.[34] His London townhouse in Kensington sold in 2005 for about US$25 million.[35] Black's Palm Beach mansion was listed for sale in 2004 at $36 million. In late April 2011 this Florida property was also sold by Black for approximately $30 million (USD).[36]

According to biographer Tom Bower, "They flaunted their wealth."[12] Black's critics, including former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, suggested it was Black's second wife, Amiel, who pushed him towards a life of opulence. He cited her extravagant expenditures on items billed to Hollinger expenses that included US$2,463 (£1,272) on handbags, $2,785 in opera tickets, and $140 for Amiel's "jogging attire."[8]

Black was ranked 238th wealthiest in Britain by the Sunday Times Rich List 2003,[37] with an estimated wealth of £136m. He was dropped from the 2004 list.[38]

Black is a former Steering Committee member of the Bilderberg Group.[39]

Fraud conviction and Supreme Court review

Conrad Moffat Black
Criminal charge Mail fraud, obstruction of justice
Criminal penalty Sentenced to 6½ years imprisonment. Reduced to 42 months following appeal and resentencing.
Criminal status Served 29 months before being granted bail pending a Supreme Court ordered review of his case.[40] Reported to the Federal Correctional Institution, Miami on 6 September 2011[41] to serve an additional 13 months as a result of re-sentencing.[42] He was released on 4 May 2012, due to good conduct credits shortening his sentence by five months.[43]

Black was convicted in U.S. District Court in Chicago on 13 July 2007 and sentenced to serve 6.5 years in federal prison and pay Hollinger $6.1 million, in addition to a fine of US$125,000. Appeals resulted in all the criminal fraud charges being dropped, resulting only in an obstruction of justice charge, and civil penalties from the SEC. In November 2014, settlements were reached resolving all claims. As a result of the initial verdict, he was fined $125,000 and sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison, serving 37 months after two fraud charges were overturned by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, leaving one fraud charge and one obstruction of justice charge, and the 6 1/2 year sentence was reduced to 42 months.[44] The $6.1 million fine to the SEC was reduced to $4.1 million in 2013.[45]

Black was initially found guilty of diverting funds for personal benefit from money due to Hollinger International, and of other irregularities. The alleged embezzlement occurred when the company sold certain publishing assets. In 2000, in an arrangement that came to be known as the "Lerner Exchange," Black acquired Chicago's Lerner Newspapers and sold it to Hollinger.[46] He also was found guilty of obstruction of justice.[47]

The Supreme Court of the United States heard an appeal of his case on 8 December 2009[48] and rendered a decision in June 2010. Black's application for bail was rejected by both the Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court judge who sentenced him.[49]

On 24 June 2010, the US Supreme Court ruled 9–0 that the definition of Honest services fraud used in the trial judge's charge to the jury in Black's case was too broad in June 2010, "unconstitutionally vague", ruling the law could apply only to cases where bribes and kickbacks had changed hands and ordered the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to review three fraud convictions against Black in light of the Supreme Court's new definition. As ordered the Court reviewed Black's case and determined whether his fraud convictions stood or if there should be a new trial.[50] The Supreme Court upheld the jailed former media baron's obstruction-of-justice conviction, for which he was serving a concurrent 6½-year sentence.[51] Black's lawyers filed an application for bail pending the appeals court's review.[50] Prosecutors contested Black's bail request, saying in court papers that Black's trial jury had proof that Black committed fraud.[52] The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals granted bail on 19 July 2010 under which Black was released pending retrial on a $2 million unsecured bond put up by conservative philanthropist Roger Hertog[53] and ordered to remain on bail in the continental United States until at least 16 August, when his bail hearing was to resume,[53][54][55][56] and the date by which Black and the prosecution were ordered by the Court of Appeals to submit written arguments for that court's review of his case.[57][58]

Until 21 July 2010,[53] Black was incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution Low, Coleman, FL,[59] a part of the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex.[60][61][n 2]

Following his release, Black wrote a column for Canada's National Post on his time in prison. Black described America's inmates as an "ostracized, voiceless legion of the walking dead."[62] Black was to appear once again in a Chicago court on 16 August to provide full and detailed financial information to the judge, who would then consider his request to be allowed to return to Canada while on bail.[63] Black's legal representatives advised the court that they would not provide the requisite accounting and would thus not be interested in petitioning the court further on the matter. It is possible that the voluminous amounts of information that would have been required for complete disclosure could not be compiled in time or that his wealth would be unlikely to persuade the court to extend his bail conditions. He was under no compulsion to make this disclosure as he had initiated the appeal for a bail variation of his own volition. His next court appearance, where he might reapply for permission to return to Canada was set for 20 September 2010.[64]

On 28 October 2010, the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned two of the three mail fraud convictions. This left Black convicted of one count of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. The court also ruled that he must be resentenced.[65] On 17 December 2010, Black lost an appeal as to fact and law on his remaining convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice. The three-person panel did not provide reasons. On 31 May 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to grant Black leave to appeal (to it) his two remaining convictions without comment.[66]

The resentencing on the two remaining counts by the original trial judge occurred on 24 June 2011.[67] Black's lawyers recommended that he be sentenced to the 29 months he had already served while the prosecution argued for Black to complete his original 6½ year sentence. The probation officer's report recommended a sentence of between 33 and 41 months.[68] At the hearing, Judge St. Eve resentenced Black to a reduced term of 42 months and a fine of $125,000, returning him to prison on 6 September 2011[41] to serve the remaining 13 months of his sentence.[42]

On 30 June 2011, Black published an article for the National Review Online that provided his scathing view of the legal case, detailing it as a miscarriage of justice and an "unaccountable and often lawless prosecution."[69]

Seth Lipsky, in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal that ran on 28 June 2011, called the verdict against Black "head-scratching," noting that Black was found not guilty of the most serious charges brought against him. Lipsky also raised the issue of why Black was denied a retrial by jury as to whether he had committed pecuniary fraud after the Supreme Court unanimously found that Judge St. Eve's instructions to the jury were "incorrect," which led to two of the three fraud counts ultimately being vacated. In the end, the fraud conviction and the count of obstruction were allowed to stand.[70]

Black did not return to Coleman Federal Correctional Facility, and on 6 September 2011 went to the Federal Correctional Institution, Miami.[71] He was released from prison on 4 May 2012. While he waived Canadian citizenship in 2001 in order to receive a British peerage, he has expressed desire to live in Canada after his prison term completed.[72] He was granted a one-year temporary resident permit to live in Canada in March 2012 when he was still serving his sentence.[73] Upon his release from the prison, Black was immediately picked up by the U.S. Immigration officials and escorted to the Miami International Airport for deportation. He arrived at Toronto on the same afternoon and returned to his home for the first time in nearly five years.[74] He has been barred from entering the United States for 30 years.[75]

On 5 June 2012 lawyers for Black moved that the last remaining counts of conviction be vacated due to prosecutorial misconduct and his claim that he had been denied the right to have the defense counsel of his choice. Black's motion was dismissed on 19 February 2013 along with his request for an evidentiary hearing.[76]

Black maintains his innocence, likening the United States justice system to North Korea. He has never acknowledged any crimes.[77]

Ontario Securities Commission

In July 2013, the Ontario Securities Commission restarted its case against Black and two other former Hollinger executives, John Boultbee and Peter Atkinson. The regulator is seeking to have them banned from trading in the province's capital markets or sitting on a public board of directors. The case alleges violations of the Securities Act (Ontario). The case had been postponed pending the exhaustion of Black's appeals of his U.S. fraud convictions. The securities case alleges that Black and his two fellow directors created a scheme was to use the sale of several Hollinger newspapers in order to "divert certain proceeds from [Hollinger International] to themselves through contrived 'non-competition' payments".

Black applied to have the proceedings dismissed on the basis that he is already subject to a temporary ban on serving as a director or officer of a public company in Ontario. The OSC has dismissed Black's argument and will proceed with the case in 2014.[78]

On February 27, 2015 the OSC placed a permanent ban on Black being a director or officer of a publically traded company in Ontario.[79]

Canada Revenue Agency

In early 2014, the Tax Court of Canada ruled that Black owed the Canadian government taxes on $5.1-million of income accrued in 2002.[80]

Peerage controversy and citizenship

Black acquired an ownership stake in the Daily Telegraph newspaper in 1985.[81] In 2001, British Prime Minister Tony Blair advised Queen Elizabeth II to confer on Black the dignity of a life peerage with the title of Baron Black.[n 3][82] Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien gave the opinion to his government's nationality department that a Canadian citizen should not receive a British titular honour, citing the 1919 Nickle Resolution, and a long history since banning Canadian citizens from accepting foreign peerages. Black at the time held both Canadian and British citizenship. After the Federal Court of Canada ruled against Black in his suit against Chrétien, Black renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001, remaining a citizen of the UK, which allowed him to accept the peerage without further controversy.

Black sat as a life peer for the Conservative Party (UK) until 2007, when he was expelled following his conviction in the United States. He currently sits as a non-affiliated member. In a 2012 interview with BBC reporter Jeremy Paxman, Black speculated that he could return to the House of Lords as a voting member. Comparing himself to Nelson Mandela, Black stated that a criminal conviction does not prohibit him since the British House of Lords has no restriction on such a case.[83]

In a May 2012 interview with Peter Mansbridge, Black said he will consider applying for Canadian citizenship "within a year or two" when he hoped the matter would no longer be controversial and he could "make an application like any other person who has been a temporary resident." However, in light of Black's criminal conviction it remains unlikely for him to succeed, as Canada's immigration laws normally prohibit foreign criminals from receiving citizenship.[84] The decision to grant or reject his application would be at the discretion of the federal Cabinet.[85] He has been on Leave of Absence from the House of Lords since June 2012.[86][87]

His full life peer style is Baron Black of Crossharbour, of Crossharbour in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets created on 30 October 2001.[88]

Order of Canada and Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Black was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990. In September 2011, after Black returned to prison due to the failure of his appeal, Rideau Hall, the seat of the Chancellery of Honours, confirmed that the honour accorded to Black was under review by the order's Advisory Council, which has the power to recommend "the termination of a person's appointment to the Order of Canada if the person has been convicted of a criminal offence."[89] Once the review process started, Black submitted a written application in defence of keeping his place in the Order of Canada, but failed in his efforts to persuade the Advisory Council he should appear before them to defend his case orally. Black then took the matter to the Federal Court of Canada, which ruled that the council had no obligation to change its regular review process (which allows for written submissions only) simply to accommodate Black.[90] Black attempted to appeal the court's decision without success.[91]

In an October 2012 interview, Black intimated that he would rather resign from the order than be removed: "I would not wait for giving these junior officials the evidently almost aphrodisiacal pleasure of throwing me out. I would withdraw," he told CBC's Susan Ormiston. "In fact, I wouldn't be interested in serving."[92]

On 31 January 2014, Governor General David Johnston announced that he had accepted a recommendation from the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada to remove Black from the order.[93] On the same day, the Governor General, acting on the recommendation of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, also expelled Black from the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, to which he had been appointed in 1992.[94] As a result, Black may no longer employ the post-nominal initials OC and PC.[95]

Books and other publications

Black has written an autobiography and three substantial biographies of controversial 20th-century figures.

  • Duplessis:[96] Black re-worked his 1973 Master's thesis on Maurice Duplessis into a rehabilatory biographical re-examination of the controversial long-serving Quebec premier, published in 1977.
  • A Life in Progress:[97] An autobiography, published in 1993.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Champion of Freedom:[98] While Black was CEO of Hollinger International, the company spent millions of dollars purchasing collections of private papers of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[99] Black subsequently completed a 1,280-page biography, in 2003.[100]
  • What Might Have Been:[101] A 2004 essay of speculative history depicting the latter half of the 20th century as it might have unfolded had Japan not bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, edited by Andrew Roberts.
  • Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full:[102] Continuing in the vein of Duplessis, Black's 1,152-page 2007 biography of Richard Nixon sought to rehabilitate the former U.S. President's legacy. This approach was criticized by some reviewers, who felt that it attempted to exculpate Nixon of some negative aspects of his time in office.[103]
  • Selected Columns/Articles in Newspapers and Magazines
    • Black continues to contribute regular features to the National Post, the newspaper he founded in 1998 and sold in 2001. In an article there, Black indicated that his next book will describe how his business empire was destroyed while court-protected managers enriched themselves and eradicated shareholder value. He says, "The judiciary and regulators in both countries are complicit in these events. They will have much to answer for. This is the real story, and I will publish it soon."[104]
    • In the November 2008 issue of Spear's magazine, Black wrote a diary piece from jail,[105] detailing 'the putrification of the US justice system' and how 'the bloom is off my long-notorious affection for America'.
    • On 5 March 2009, Black contributed a piece to the online version of the conservative magazine National Review (NRO). Called 'Roosevelt and the Revisionists' and based on his earlier biography of Roosevelt, it argued that FDR's New Deal was intended to save capitalism, and so deserved conservative support. In her 9 March critique of this piece on NRO, author Amity Shlaes observed, "I will be co-hosting, with Dean Thomas Cooley of NYU/Stern, a Second Look conference on March 30 to permit scholars to present the multiple studies that suggest the New Deal and Great Depression are worth taking a look at from every angle. The great shame here is that Conrad would have added much to this event, and yet he cannot attend."
  • A Matter of Principle:[106][107] Published in 2011, Black described his indictment and the trial, the subsequent conviction, imprisonment and the appeal. Woven throughout the book, Black did not hide his contempt toward the prosecutors, and the people and media whom he perceived betrayed him and harboured bias against him. Black reserved the most indignation toward the prosecutors whom he believed mounted a campaign to destroy him. The book also discussed his views on politics, corporate governance, and the U.S. justice system and its need of reform.[108]
    In a rebuttal to set the record straight,[109] Black's defence lawyer, Edward Greenspan said 'Conrad's flawed account of his own trial is a reminder of how seldom an accused person actually grasps what is going on in court'. In particular, Greenspan vigorously rebuked Black's repeating the allegation of 'extortion' described in an article[110] written by Mark Steyn in Maclean's.

Biographies and portrayal in popular culture

  • The book "The Establishment Man", sub-titled "A Portrait of Power", by Peter C.Newman, detailing Black's early career, was published in 1982 by McClelland and Stewart ISBN 0-7710-6786-0
  • The documentary film Citizen Black, which premiered at the 2004 Montreal and Cambridge film festivals, traces Black's life and filmmaker Debbie Melnyk's attempts in 2003 to interview Black, and her eventual interview.[111] US prosecutors subpoenaed unused footage of a 2003 shareholders meeting for use in Black's trial.[112]
  • Canadian actor Albert Schultz portrayed Black in the 2006 CTV movie Shades of Black.
  • Tom Bower's biography Conrad and Lady Black: Dancing on the Edge (ISBN 0007232349) was published in 2006 by Harper Collins. It was republished in August 2007 with an additional chapter reporting on the trial and its outcomes.
  • There is talk of two dramas based on his life: one from Bower and Andrew Lloyd Webber and another from Alistair Beaton.[113]
  • The last authorized portrait busts of Conrad Black and Barbara Amiel were created between 2001–2002 by Canadian sculptor Dr. Elizabeth Bradford Holbrook and arranged by noted Canadian artist Christian Cardell Corbet who himself also created a portrait of Black.
  • A book "Robber Baron: Lord Black of Crossharbour" was published in 2007 by ECW press and written by George Tombs. ISBN 978-1-55022-806-9
  • Vancouver-based dance music producer Todd Shillington goes by the stage name of Konrad Black for his recordings and live performances.

Notes and references

  1. ^ In the USA a felony is a larger conviction than a misdemeanor, sentenced and convicted in district or federal criminal courts. The UK and Canadian equivalent is an indictable offence.
  2. ^ Prior to being granted bail, his scheduled release date was 30 October 2013.[59]
  3. ^ With, not part of the main title, the territorial designation, of Crossharbour [see Wapping] in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. This entitles him to the standard official style of "Lord Black".
  1. ^
  2. ^ Vanity Fair, October, 2011
  3. ^ Financial Post: "Conrad Black moves to end Hollinger CCAA"
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Black guilty on 4 charges, including obstruction", CTV, 13 July 2007.
  6. ^ BBC News "Conrad Black ordered back to prison" 24 June 2011.
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c Clark, Andrew: "At some level, he's still asking the same question as he was when he was seven or eight – who am I?", The Guardian, 16 March 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Black, C. (1993). A Life in Progress. Key Porter Books. ISBN 1-55013-520-1.
  10. ^ "Remembering my older brother Mario Monte", National Post, 22 October 2011.
  11. ^ Time Magazine: "Headline Maker"
  12. ^ a b c Bower, Tom: Conrad & Lady Black – Dancing on the Edge (London: HarperPress, 2006),
  13. ^ a b CBC News: "Conrad Black: Timeline" Updated 5 June 2008.
  14. ^ a b Newman, P. (1983). The Establishment Man. Seal Books. ISBN 0-7704-1839-2.
  15. ^ – Main Page
  16. ^ "Nineteen years with my perfect Valentine", National Post, February 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "How I woke up from spiritual slumber and inched at a snail's pace to Rome", The Catholic Herald, 11 September 2009.
  18. ^ "A dear, wise, constant friend", Catholic Education Resource Centre, 12 April 2003.
  19. ^ a b "Conrad Black: I have found serenity through Catholicism in jail", The Daily Telegraph. 10 September 2009.
  20. ^ a b c Black, C. (2011). A Matter of Principle. McCelland & Stewart. ISBN 978-0-7710-1670-7.
  21. ^ a b c Francis, D. (1986). Controlling Interest – Who Owns Canada. Macmillan of Canada. ISBN 0-7715-9744-4.
  22. ^ [1], CIBC Annual Report 1999
  23. ^
  24. ^ a b Olive, David "A Conrad Black timeline", Toronto Star, 11 March 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Gessell, Paul "'"Saul's Ottawa 'Truths The Ottawa Citizen, 18 September 2008.
  28. ^ "Conrad Black, a cheese-eating Labrador and countless vituperative flights of fancy", National Post, 24 June 2010.
  29. ^ BBC News "Conrad Black: Where did it all go wrong" 27 February 2004.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Corporate Scandals: Black shadows", The Economist, 15 March 2007
  32. ^ a b "Auto Da Fé: Conrad Black, Corporate Governance, and the End of Economic Man", Books in Canada, December 2006.
  33. ^
  34. ^ U.S.D.O.J. "Press Release" 15 December 2005.
  35. ^ Timmons, Heather: "Conrad Black sells London townhouse" International Herald Tribune, 20 May 2005.
  36. ^ CBC News: "Conrad Black charged . . . ". CBC News. 17 November 2005.
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ Former Steering Committee Members | Bilderberg Meetings
  40. ^ Conrad Black gets bail, review of case | CTV News
  41. ^ a b "Conrad Black to report back to prison in September", Globe and Mail, 11 July 2011.
  42. ^ a b "Black sent back to jail for 13 months", Globe and Mail, 24 June 2011.
  43. ^
  44. ^ Appeals court upholds Conrad Black's conviction on fraud, obstruction charges Guilty verdicts on two other fraud counts are vacated; Ameet Sachdev; Chicago Tribune 29 October 2010
  45. ^ Conrad Black fined and banned by US BBCNews, 16 August 2013
  46. ^
  47. ^ BBC News Business: "Conrad Black convicted of fraud" 13 July 2007.
  48. ^ McQuillen, William. "Conrad Black: Conviction Questioned by High Court",, 8 December 2009.
  49. ^ "Conrad Black denied bail", Toronto Star, 15 July 2009.
  50. ^ a b "Conrad Black seeks bail", Globe and Mail, 7 July 2010.
  51. ^ Conrad Black Fraud Convictions Set Aside
  52. ^ "Conrad Black sued for $71 million in back taxes", Toronto Star, 15 July 2010.
  53. ^ a b c "Black to be released but can't come to Canada", Toronto Star, 21 July 2010.
  54. ^ "Conrad Black granted bail", Toronto Star, 19 July 2010.
  55. ^ "Court clears Black for release", Globe and Mail, 22 July 2010.
  56. ^ "Black can't return to Canada yet", Globe and Mail, 23 July 2010.
  57. ^ "Court to hear Conrad Black case Aug. 16", Vancouver Sun, 26 July 2010.
  58. ^ "Conrad Black likely stuck in the U.S.", CTV News, 27 July 2010.
  59. ^ a b "Conrad Black." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on 6 January 2010.
  60. ^
  61. ^ Joyce, Julian. "Black times ahead for fallen peer." BBC. Tuesday 4 March 2008. Retrieved on 6 January 2010.
  62. ^ Conrad Black: My prison education | Full Comment | National Post
  63. ^ "Black 'enlightened' by prison time". CBC News. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  64. ^ Conrad Black drops bid to return to Canada – Need to know –
  65. ^
  66. ^ "U.S. Supreme Court rejects Conrad Black’s appeal", Globe and Mail, 31 May 2011.
  67. ^ "Conrad Black sentencing set for June 24", Chicago Sun-Times, 13 January 2011.
  68. ^ "Will Conrad Black go back to jail?", Globe and Mail, 23 June 2011.
  69. ^ Conrad Black, "I stand before the court," National Review Online 30 June 2011.
  70. ^ Seth Lipsky, "A head-scratching verdict against Conrad Black," The Wall Street Journal 28 June 2011.
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^
  77. ^
  78. ^
  79. ^
  80. ^
  81. ^
  82. ^ The London Gazette: no. 56379. p. 12995. 5 November 2001.
  83. ^
  84. ^
  85. ^
  86. ^
  87. ^
  88. ^ The London Gazette: no. 56379. p. 12995. 5 November 2001.
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^
  92. ^
  93. ^
  94. ^
  95. ^
  96. ^ ISBN 0-7710-1530-5
  97. ^ ISBN 978-1-55013-520-6
  98. ^ ISBN 978-1-58648-184-1
  99. ^
  100. ^
  101. ^ ISBN 978-0-7538-1873-2
  102. ^ ISBN 978-1-58648-519-1
  103. ^
  104. ^
  105. ^ Black, Conrad. "Jail Diary", Spear's, November 2008.
  106. ^
  107. ^ Johnson, Paul. "Apologia pro vita sua", The Spectator, 17 November 2012.
  108. ^
  109. ^ (subscription required)
  110. ^
  111. ^
  112. ^
  113. ^

Further reading

  • Edge, Marc. Asper nation: Canada's most dangerous media company (2007) pp 70-97
  • Newman, Peter C. The Establishment Man: A Portrait of Power )McClelland and Stewart, 1982) ISBN 0-7710-6786-0
  • Siklos, Richard. Shades of Black: Conrad Black--his Rise and Fall (McClelland & Stewart Limited, 2004)
  • Skurka, Steven. Tilted: The Trials of Conrad Black (Dundurn, 2011)

External links

  • Conrad Black on Twitter
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Conrad Black at the Internet Movie Database
  • Works by or about Conrad Black in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • Conrad Black collected news and commentary at The Guardian
  • Conrad Black collected news and commentary at The Jerusalem Post
  • Conrad Black collected news and commentary at The New York Times
  • SEC – Breeden Report Complete 512-page copy of the Report of Investigation by the Special Committee of the board of directors of Hollinger International Inc.
  • The United States vs. Conrad Black collected coverage in
  • Lord Black of Crossharbour: The Life and Times of Conrad Black,, documentary originally aired 24 March 2005
  • "Conrad Black's apologia for Richard Nixon": a review in the TLS by Anthony Holden, 8 August 2007
  • Conrad Black's full-length jail diary
  • An interview with Conrad Black from Coleman Federal Correction Complex, May 2010
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