Thompson said Hollinger's audit committee never approved a $12 million non-compete payment to parent corporation Hollinger Inc., in the 1999 sale of 45 newspapers for $472 million. Thompson chaired the audit committee from 1998 to 2005, Crain's Chicago Business said.
The four-term governor and former U.S. Attorney took the stand Tuesday, six weeks into the federal trial of former Hollinger International Inc. CEO Black, who is accused of pocketing $60 million in no-complete clause payments that should have been shared with Hollinger International stockholders.
Hollinger International owned the Chicago Sun-Times and numerous other newspaper properties in the United States and Canada. In addition to Thompson, 70, other board members included former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former U.S. Ambassador Richard Burt.
Former Sun-Times publisher David Radler pleaded guilty earlier and is expected to testify against Black, the Chicago Tribune said.
"They didn't advise us," Thompson said in court. "They ran the business as a duo, as far as I can see."