Rightist media baron Conrad Black gets six years jail for fraud

This music video is the song Conrad Black – by El Pollo Diablo.

From British daily The Guardian:

‘No one is above the law’ – Conrad Black gets six years

Former Telegraph owner jailed for plot to embezzle $6.1m from shareholders

o Andrew Clark in Chicago

o Tuesday December 11 2007

Conrad Black was sentenced yesterday to six and a half years in an American prison for abusing shareholders’ trust through a sophisticated plot to embezzle $6.1m from his Hollinger media empire.

At Chicago’s federal court, Judge Amy St Eve told the former owner of the Daily Telegraph: “No one is immune from the proper application of law in the United States and that, Mr Black, includes you.” …

Black has been given 12 weeks to put his affairs in order and will report to jail at the beginning of March.

I’d say that most smaller crooks, convicted for much less money, don’t get such a 12 weeks respite; in that sense, Lord Black is still privileged, even now. A neocon not just in the sense of ‘neo-conservative’ but also a sort of ‘neo-convict’.

His lawyers asked for him to serve his sentence at a minimum security prison, Eglin airforce base in Florida. But in an odd twist, the US bureau of prisons in Washington said this facility had been closed since 2006. …

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence as long as 20 years, citing his lack of remorse and his disdain of the US judicial system – which included describing prosecutors as “Nazis” and “pygmies”.

Gee, neoconservatives like Lord Black call the United States state apparatus Nazi as soon as it starts to prosecute their own crimes. While they typically wax hysterical if anyone, while pointing out that though there are all sorts of differences between nazi times and now, and between Adolf Hitler and George W. Bush as individuals; there are also at least some similarities, like in military aggression as against Poland or Iraq, condemned as criminal in international law since the Nuremberg trials; in torture camps, etc.

The case, in which Black was accused of receiving millions of dollars in bonuses disguised as phoney “non-compete” payments, is part of a pattern of white-collar prosecutions by the US government which arose in the aftermath of the collapse of vast companies such as Enron and WorldCom.

The prosecutor, Eric Sussman, told the court that in some respects Black’s actions were worse than those of the bosses of Enron who manipulated books and balance sheets in an effort to keep the company from collapsing from hidden losses. “Mr Black and his colleagues simply stole money,” Sussman said. “What put him in here today was his own greed and his own disdain for the rule of law.” …

Black’s imprisonment completes a final fall from grace for a man whose personal fortune was once estimated at £136m and who controlled more than 200 newspapers around the globe including the Jerusalem Post and the Chicago Sun-Times as well as Britain’s Telegraph titles.

Update June 2008: here.

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