Conrad Black Agrees to Return Stolen Documents

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(AP) Deposed media baron Conrad Black has agreed to return 12 boxes of documents after a video caught him on tape taking papers from his headquarters in downtown Toronto, a spokesman for Black said Thursday.

It was a new twist to Black’s venomous battle against his enemies at the Toronto holding company, Hollinger Inc.

Black, who is accused of misappropriating money from Hollinger and its publishing subsidiary in Chicago, is to be evicted from Hollinger’s offices at the end of the month.

Black had been barred by an Ontario court from taking any documents from the company without the permission of a court-ordered inspector.

The 60-year-old Black, who resigned from Hollinger Inc. in November as part of a failed plan to privatize the company, is the subject of a criminal probe in the United States. He also faces lawsuits from securities regulators and shareholders on both sides of the border.

Hollinger Inc.’s main holding is a majority of the voting stock in Hollinger International Inc., a Chicago-based company that publishes the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers.

Black and others were thrown out of Hollinger International after an internal investigation accused them of looting the company’s coffers of hundreds of millions of dollars. The company’s lawsuit is pending.

On Wednesday, Black’s lawyer Alan Mark was allowed to view the four-minute tape at Ontario Superior Court, and described it as “innocuous.”

One can see on the tape that Black’s chauffeur John Hillier is clearly looking at the camera as Black handed boxes to his longtime aide Joan Maida.

The tape showed Black and Maida working inside the office, handing boxes of documents to Hillier, who then loaded them in the their black limousine.

The spokesman for Black said Black didn’t believe that his personal effects were included in the court order and would immediately return them to the investigator.

Though Black was born in Canada, he later renounced his citizenship in order to become a British Lord. The board of Hollinger International included several political figures such as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

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