TORONTO - Former media baron Conrad Black never showed up to face the throng of cameras and reporters at an Ontario Securities Commission hearing Friday.
But the fallen media tycoon missed little — other than the setting of a confidential pretrial hearing date on Oct. 21, where a future hearing date will be set.
The OSC wants to prevent Black and former Hollinger colleagues Peter Atkinson and John Boultbee from buying or trading in securities and from becoming officers or directors of any public company in Ontario.
The OSC is also seeking costs for their investigation and the hearing.
Black's lawyer Peter Howard argued the OSC prosecution is a waste of time and money and nothing new is being asserted.
"This isn't even old wine in a new bottle. It's old wine in an old bottle," Howard said.
"This proceeding is entirely unnecessary. The Ontario capital markets are not in jeopardy."
Howard said his client is considering filing a motion for a stay on the proceedings "to save commission resources and time."
The OSC action follows the settlement this week of the case between Black and the American securities regulators. Black was ordered to pay $4.1 million in restitution to the Chicago Newspaper Liquidation Corporation and banned from being a director of a public U.S. company.
Black was accused in 2007 of a dozen charges of fraud, racketeering, tax evasion, money-laundering and obstruction of justice in Chicago for allegedly pocketing $60 million from Hollinger International investors when more than $3 billion in assets were sold between ‘98 and 2001.
Black was only convicted of one count for misappropriating $600,000 and another count of obstruction for defying a court order by removing 13 boxes through the back door of his Hollinger headquarters on Toronto St.
The OSC is making similar allegations to the Chicago trial charges, namely that Black and his colleagues “essentially paid themselves not to compete with themselves.”
It was also alleged that Black and his cohorts didn’t obtain approval for those payments from the Hollinger International board and made misrepresentations regarding those payments in public disclosures.
Black has always maintained his innocence, saying there never was a large corruption scheme at Hollinger and he’s the victim of wrongful persecution by the media and the American justice system. He has also said he has no interest going back to the world of publicly held companies.