Black is back ... before the Ontario Securities Commission

Black is back ... before the Ontario Securities Commission

Black is back ... before the Ontario Securities Commission

Former media mogul Conrad Black and two co-respondents will revisit the fraud charges put against them more than eight years ago. The Ontario Securities Commission said a hearing will be held on 16 August.

In the OSC’s updated statement of allegations, Black, John Boultbee and Peter Atkinson – the respondents –  are accused of cheating shareholders and tax authorities in the US and Canada, by diverting proceeds from the now-defunct media giant Hollinger International to themselves.

It's alleged they did not have approval for these payments, and had made misrepresentations about them through public disclosure. The charges were initially filed in March 2005, but were put on hold due to related legal action in the US.

Final appeals in that proceeding, as well as in a related Securities and Exchange Commission proceeding, have been resolved. The OSC on Friday, July 12, amended its allegations to reflect the findings and convictions by US criminal and civil courts.

Among the matters the OSC will consider at the August hearing are whether Black, Boultbee and Atkinson should be prohibited from securities trading, either permanently or for a specific duration set by the OSC; whether they be prohibited from becoming or acting as an officer or director of any issuer, registrant or investment fund manager; whether there should be reprimands or other penalties; and whether they should be required to pay for the costs of the OSC’s investigation and related hearings.

Upon his return to Canada in 2012, following his release from US prison, Black said he wanted to maintain a low profile. Thus far, he has failed spectacularly at this. As well as writing a semi-regular column for a national newspaper, he is set to co-host a weekly talk show, has promoted his new book (as well as his previous one), appeared on a UK comedy program and last week was a guest on Rush Limbaugh’ US talk radio program.

Nevertheless, Black is unlikely to welcome the attention brought by the new OSC hearing.