Black declines to testify in fraud case

June 13, 2007 at 7:00 PM
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CHICAGO, June 13 (UPI) -- Fallen media baron Conrad Black has declined to testify in the fraud case against him in Chicago.

"I decline to exercise my right to testify," the former chairman of Hollinger International Inc. told U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve Tuesday.

The defense rested after taking eight days to present its case; the prosecution took nearly two months. Closing arguments are to begin Monday, with the case expected to reach the jury yet this month, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

Black, a British lord, and former Hollinger executives John Boultbee, Peter Atkinson and Mark Kipnis, are accused of looting more than $60 million from the international newspaper company, now called Sun-Times Media Group Inc., which owns the Chicago Sun-Times and other publications. Black also faces charges of misusing corporate perks.

Prosecutors relied on testimony of former insiders F. David Radler and Paul Healy and directors such as former Illinois Gov. James Thompson to demonstrate how Black and other executives enriched themselves at shareholders' expense.

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