By: E&P Staff
With his long U.S. trial for fraud over and sentencing coming up in late November, fallen newspaper baron Conrad Black this weekend resumed his column in the Toronto-based newspaper he created, the National Post.
Black devoted the bulk of the column to the parlous condition of the world economy — but he got in some opening shots about trial and the activist shareholders who led the charge against fraud in the corporate suites of the former Hollinger International Inc.
“It is fair to say we won three quarters of our case, and hope to win the rest at the next stage,” Black wrote, thanking “the many readers who sent messages of encouragement.”
He said he shared “the lamentations from readers noting the hundreds of millions my opponents have pocketed, while destroying $1.5-billion of shareholder value.” Black did not specify which opponents he had in mind.
“I will write and publish the full account of this travesty in good time,” Black wrote.
Black followed those comments with a generally pessimistic assessment of the global economy, saying the “recent market commotion gives only a hint of potential economic problems.”
As he has on several occasions since he was accused by U.S. prosecutors of looting millions from the publishing company of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Montreal-born Black — who famously renounced his Canadian citizenship in a tiff with the then prime minister so he could accept appointment to the British House of Lords — lauded Canada as a great power.
He wrote of “Canada’s sudden rise to being one of the world’s 10 most important countries” on earth.
“Many Canadians still do not entirely understand the revolution in the country’s stature,” he wrote. “It is a treasure house of base and precious minerals, forest products, most forms of energy and agriculture, and fresh water, all in high demand.”
Black himself has been forbidden to return to Canada, where he had been living on a temporary residence visa, since his conviction in June on three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. The Chicago trial judge in the case has limited him to living in the Chicago area or Palm Beach, Fla., where he now resides in a beachfront mansion.