Court Won’t Dismiss Hollinger Case Against Black, Others

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(AP) A federal judge in Chicago has denied all motions to dismiss newspaper publisher Hollinger International Inc.’s lawsuit against its former chief Conrad Black, subsidiary Hollinger Inc., Black’s former deputy David Radler, and other former officers and directors of the company.

The Chicago-based company said U.S. District Judge Blanche M. Manning of the Northern District of Illinois held that the company had stated legally sufficient claims against all of the defendants in its action to recover more than $425 million plus interest from the defendants stemming from their alleged looting of the company.

Conrad Black on Monday repeated his denial of the lawsuit’s allegations of breach of fiduciary duties.

“This decision by Judge Manning in no way reflects on the merits of the claims in this lawsuit, which the defendants are continuing to vigorously contest,” Black’s statement said.

Hollinger International’s amended complaint, filed Oct. 29, added further claims against certain defendants based on the Aug. 30 report of the company’s special committee set up to investigate dealings at the company.

The committee was created in May 2003 to investigate allegations raised by certain shareholders regarding, among other things, transactions between the company and entities controlled by Black, as well as any other matters uncovered in the course of its work.

Meanwhile, Black is pursuing three defamation claims in Canada totaling more than 1 billion Canadian dollars ($829 million) against members of the special committee based on the committee’s allegations. Hollinger Inc., which controls a 67 percent voting interest in Hollinger International, is based in Toronto.

Also on Monday, Hollinger International named Gregory Stoklosa vice president of finance, effective immediately, and the company said he will replace retiring Peter Lane as chief financial officer later this year.

Lane, 51 years old, held the post since 2002. He will remain in Toronto while the company completes the move of its corporate functions to its Chicago headquarters.

Shares of Hollinger International, which publishes the Chicago Sun-Times and other Chicago-area papers, rose 5 cents to $11.40 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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