Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories
What’s past is prologue, and with the arrival of Richard Burt, Shakespeare’s bromide will inform the approach of both sides to his testimony. The prosecutors have already tipped their hand, drawing Burt out as to the relationship between the protagonists and the nature of their alleged conspiracies.
The Post’s Peter Brieger reported Burt saying that Conrad Black and David Radler “‘were like a team. They worked closely with each other. They would interrupt each other during board presentations. I’d say it was seamless. They each knew the topic. They were very much the two people in charge of the company.’ Mr. Burt also said he wasn’t aware that Lord Black and his right-hand man, David Radler, received ‘non-compete payments’ in a sale of small-town newspapers to Horizon Publications, a company that was created by the pair and controlled by Mr. Radler. ‘I didn’t know anything [about the fees],’ Mr. Burt told Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Cramer. ‘Was it important for you to know that Conrad Black and David Radler partially owned Horizon?’ the prosecutor asked. ‘Yes, because it would have been a related-party transaction,’ the former diplomat testified, referring to deals involving money or other benefits flowing to company executives. ‘What did you know about non-compete money going to Hollinger Inc.?’ Mr. Cramer asked, referring to a Toronto holding company that was also controlled by Messrs. Black and Radler. ‘Nothing,’ the witness replied. ‘That would have been another related-party transaction.’”
The elephant in the room is that had Burt known, he, along with the other independent directors, would have insisted that the money flow through to the shareholders of Hollinger International. That said, the prosecutors are walking a tightrope here. Burt has to come off as a dupe rather than a dunce, and it’s not like the defence doesn’t know that. In short, these days in Chicago, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.”
Ex-director says execs were close [Chicago Tribune]Black and Radler: `They were a team’ [Toronto Star]Didn’t know about fees: former director [National Post]Details on non-compete payments withheld by Black, witness says [Globe and Mail]