Conrad Black update

For the few among you who even care. Six 1/2 years.

Conrad Black was on Monday sentenced to 6½ years in a federal prison for his role in the multi-million dollar fraud at Hollinger International, the newspaper company he created and controlled.

Apropos my earlier questioning, concerning the differences between Conrad Black and Jeffrey Skilling:

… the crimes of Skilling and Lay could reasonably be supposed to have been undertaken in order to save the company (in an “I can win it back!” sense, sure, but nevertheless). Their fraud was massive, but their motives could have been more benign than we are given to believe. Not so with Conrad Black. He wasn’t covering up over-valued stocks, he was paying his wife and himself a tonne of money, throwing birthday parties for his wife, getting nice apartments, etc.. There was nothing benign about it.

There will probably be no problem with conviction, but this makes sentencing interesting – will Conrad Black get a lighter sentence than Jeffrey Skilling because he didn’t hurt as many people as badly? Should we draw parallels between attempted murder and manslaughter? As Sideshow Bob complained, they don’t give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry?

It turns out that, yes, the whiteness of one’s collar always pays off.

Judge St Eve said it was appropriate to use sentencing guidelines set in 2000, which were more lenient than current standards. She rejected prosecutors’ arguments that Lord Black should be considered a ringleader in the fraud, but added that she would also not consider the former chairman and chief executive of Hollinger a minor player.

In remarks before the ruling, Judge St Eve took a conservative estimate of the damage Lord Black’s fraud wreaked on Hollinger investors.

Prosecutors had urged the judge to find that Lord Black’s scheme resulted in $32m in losses for Hollinger. Instead, Judge St Eve ruled that the total damages were worth $6.1m.

So. Lightly off he gets (all things considered).


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