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Conrad Black ignored by the OSC, embraced by the New York Sun

Sure it’s well worn, but to my mind it forever bears repetition: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Karl Marx certainly knew a thing or two about capitalism’s foibles didn’t he? Just ask Conrad Black. There he sits in a tropical hoosegow, and still the poor guy has to fend off the Ontario Securities Commission, which, having deferred to just about every American regulatory body save the Nevada State Gaming Commission, has postponed—yet again—a hearing into the malfeasances of Hollinger Inc et al.

The Commission today issued a consent order adjourning the hearing currently scheduled for March 28, 2008 to September 26, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., for the purpose of addressing the scheduling of this proceeding. The Commission is of the opinion that the order is in the public interest considering the pending appeals of Black and Boultbee in the criminal proceedings brought against them in the United States and considering the undertakings provided by the respondents. _

How exactly is the “public interest” served when the regulatory body charged with overseeing the public markets can’t even get around to holding a hearing until six months after the subject of their inquiries has gone to prison in a neighbouring jurisdiction?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

We asked the wonks at the OSC for an answer and here, verbatim, is their reply:

It is important to note that we postponed this hearing at the request of some of the individual respondents in light of the outstanding criminal proceedings and appeals in the United States. It is normal course for us to adjourn our administrative proceeding to allow the criminal proceeding to go ahead.

There are a number of undertakings currently in place for the respondents, including Conrad Black. We have made orders restricting the conduct of the respondents in order to protect the public. These undertakings include a director and officer ban, as well as restrictions on applying to become a registrant or officer or director of a registrant, trading in Hollinger Inc. and soliciting investment funds from the public.

Well, that should be a comfort to the warden at least.

In the meantime, his Lordship has taken up New York Sun editor Seth Lipsky’s offer to write letters from Elba, as it were. The letter published today is a tame offering, really, suggesting that John McCain has a good shot at winning (no way! Ya think?) but that whoever gets the job will be an able fella or gal.

Looks like that prison library might only be dolling out one newspaper at a time-and a couple of weeks late at that.

Blacking Out Black [National Post]• Showtime [New York Sun]

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