July 13, 2007. The jury in the Conrad Black Trial have reached a verdict.
The jurors found Lord Conrad Black, 62, guilty of three fraud charges and obstructing justice. The jurors found him not guilty on nine charges.
Conrad Black's three co-defendants were also found guilty on the same three fraud counts. His co-defendants are former Hollinger Vice President Peter Atkinson, 60, ex-Chief Financial Officer John Boultbee, 64, and former General Counsel Mark Kipnis, 59.
In all, the jury deliberated on 42 counts. 13 against Black, 11 against Jack Boultbee, 10 against Peter Atkinson, and 8 against Mark Kipnis.
On the 13 counts against Black, the jury found as follows:
Count 1: Mail Fraud - guilty
Count 5: Mail and Wire Fraud - not guilty
Count 6: Mail and Wire Fraud - guilty
Count 7: Mail and Wire Fraud - guilty
Count 8: Mail and Wire Fraud - not guilty
Count 9: Mail and Wire Fraud - not guilty
Count 10: Mail and Wire Fraud - not guilty
Count 11: Mail and Wire Fraud - not guilty
Count 12: Mail and Wire Fraud - not guilty
Count 13: Concealing Documents from an Official Proceeding (obstruction of justice) - guilty
Count 14: Racketeering - not guilty
Count 15: Aiding or Assisting in Preparation of False Tax Returns - not guilty
Count 16: Aiding or Assisting in Preparation of False Tax Returns - not guilty
Black faces a total maximum sentence of 35 years, if served consecutively, as well as US$1 million in fines. The judge can rule that the sentences run concurrently rather than consecutively.
Jack Boultbee, Mark Kipnis and Peter Atkinson, could each face up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to US$750,000.
The most serious conviction for Black could possibly be the obstruction of justice charge. There were videos of him removing boxes of files in violation of a court order.
Black was cleared of the fraud charges relating to him charging personal expenses to the corporation. Perhaps, the jury felt this is one of the perks that comes with the position or that the practice is wide-spread.
Black and the others were acquitted of racketeering, which means forming an organization for criminal purposes, a charge usually brought against organized crime.
Black and the others were cleared of obtaining certain non-compete payments and convicted on others. The seller receiving a payment from the purchaser of a newspaper company in exchange for an agreement not to compete with the purchaser is so common in Canada, that the payments are exempt from tax.
A preliminary overview of the convictions seems to indicate that in situations where the purchasers requested non-compete agreement, Black and the others were cleared, while in those situations where the purchasers did not request non-compete agreements, the defendants were convicted of fraud.