By: Mark Fitzgerald
Just days before he is expected to be the star prosecution witness in the criminal fraud trial of Conrad Black, the ousted media baron’s former right-hand man F. David Radler has settled a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement action by agreeing to pay $28.7 million, the regulatory agency said Friday.
The SEC complaint, filed Nov. 15, 2004, covers almost exactly the charges that the U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois alleged against Black — that he, Radler, and others improperly pocketed about $85 million from the sales of Hollinger International newspapers from 1999 through 2003 when they were top executives at the Chicago-based chain that now calls itself Sun-Times Media Group Inc.
The SEC settlement, in which Radler neither admits nor denies the allegations in the complaint, ordered the former Chicago Sun-Times publisher to pay a total of $23,695,227 in “disgorgement and prejudgment interest,” plus a $5,000,000 civil penalty.
“The $28,695,227 shall be distributed to The Sun-Times Media Group, Inc., formerly known as Hollinger International, Inc., pursuant to the Fair Funds provisions of Section 308 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002,” the SEC statement said. It said the settlement is subject to approval of U.S. District Judge William T. Hart.
A jury has been empanelled in the federal case criminal alleging wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering, tax evasion and obstruction of justice against Black, and various counts of fraud against three other former top Hollinger executives: John (Jack) Boultbee; Peter Atkinson, and Mark Kipnis. All four have pleaded not guilty. Opening statements begin Monday.
Radler has previously pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud in exchange for a 29-month prison sentence likely to be served in his native Canada plus a $250,000 fine. He is also required to testify for the prosecution.