New Questions Arise Over Hollinger Bonuses

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By: E&P Staff

Former Hollinger chairman Conrad M. Black and other top executives received bonus payments of $3 million in late 2000 from a unit of Hollinger International that were routed through a Caribbean office of a Canadian bank.

The transactions, reported by The New York Times on Monday, do not appear to be illegal. But, according to corporate government experts, they do suggest an unusual method of compensating executives of a public company that’s based in the United States.

Payments to Black and his managers currently is the subject of an internal audit by Hollinger and the focus of a lawsuit by Cardinal Value Equity Partners, a large investor. The Securities and Exchange Commission also is looking into the company’s practices.

Chicago-based Hollinger owns newspapers such as the Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of London and The Jerusalem Post. Black resigned as chief executive last November after an internal probe found he and various partners received millions in unauthorized payments. Black is still Hollinger’s chairman.

A spokesman for Black told the Times that the December 2000 bonuses were approved by the company’s board.

A Hollinger International spokeswoman said the bonuses, of which Black received $1.8 million, were reported to the SEC. But the company did not say that they came from Hollinger Digital, a subsidiary. The company spokeswoman would not comment on the wire transfers.

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