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Radio 4: Conrad Black on a possible return to media ownership

October 28th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick

Speaking on the phone on BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show yesterday, former Daily Telegraph owner Conrad Black, who was released from prison on bail in July, indicated that he may be interested in a return to media ownership.

Asked if he would buy newspapers if he were to return to media as an investor or owner, he answered: “not unless I was operating them myself”.

I think they have been so devalued that some of them are bargains now. Many of these great American newspapers are now in the hands of receiver managers, if they can be had for almost nothing they are a bargain.

He added that newspaper ownership would not be “a chief occupation…but it might happen”.

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Newspaper tycoon Conrad Black released on $2m bail

July 22nd, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Legal, Newspapers

Newspaper tycoon Conrad Black has been released from prison in Florida on bail.

According to a report today by the BBC, the former Daily Telegraph owner Black was released on a $2 million bond, pending an appeal over fraud convictions.

He was convicted of defrauding shareholders in 2007 after pocketing tax-free bonuses without permission, as well as obstructing justice and sentenced to 78 months in jail.

But a ruling by the Supreme Court in June weakening the “honest services” law central to his conviction made bail likely.

Black’s release was preceded by a Supreme Court ruling on one of the laws used to convict him. It said the three counts of fraud were based on a vague piece of US law that was interpreted too broadly by the prosecution.

Black has always claimed his innocence and launched several unsuccessful appeals, according to a report by the Telegraph on his release.

He said an interview before he was jailed: “This story is not over (…) This isn’t like a fall and it is not an end. Even on a worst case, I’ll be back.”

See the Telegraph’s full report here…

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Tom Bower: “I knew I distrusted Desmond, but could I trust Eady?”

July 27th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

As reported widely elsewhere, at this link for example, owner of Express and Star newspapers and OK! magazine Richard Desmond, last week lost a libel action against Tom Bower, concerning a passage in the journalist’s unauthorised biography of Conrad Black published in 2007.

Amid all the subsequent comment, Tom Bower’s own ‘My Week’ piece for yesterday’s Observer stands out. Bower believes that Desmond devised the libel complaint ‘to prevent the publication of Rough Trader, my unauthorised biography of Desmond which was completed and printed [but never published] in 2006 (…)’.

Here’s an extract from Bower’s account of the trial:

“The ‘forged’ letters incident was a glorious highlight. My letters in 2005 to Desmond asking for interviews were dismissed by Desmond as ‘forgeries’. Infuriated by Desmond’s audacity, I stood up while he was still giving evidence and signalled to my wife [former London Evening Standard editor, Veronica Wadley] seated behind to exit the court. One hour later, after a dash back to our Hampstead home, she returned clutching a recorded delivery letter sent in 2005 to Desmond’s home and returned by him unopened. For four years, it had been carefully preserved in a white filing cabinet in my study.”

Full post at this link…

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MediaGuardian: Express owner Richard Desmond loses libel case

July 24th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

Desmond, the owner of Express and Star newspapers, has lost his action against biographer Tom Bower – leaving him with an estimated £1.25 million legal bill, the Guardian reports.

The newspaper owner took the action over two pages of Bower’s unauthorised biography of Conrad Black in which he claimed Bower made him look like a ‘wimp’ and made allegations about his relationship as a newspaper rival to Black.

“On the other side of court 13, Bower smiled, and accepted a kiss from his solicitor. His two barristers embraced: for a defendant to win a libel case is an exceptionally rare thing,” writes Helen Pidd.

Full story at this link…

Update: Desmond gives his own take on the trial in this Express article.

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Globeandmail.com: ‘Tempest in a book review': Black and Wolff’s online run-in

December 23rd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

“As literary feuds go, this one is Grade A,” writes Patricia Best in the Globe and Mail.

She takes a look at the controversial review of Michael Wolff’s biography of Rupert Murdoch – by Conrad Black.

Wolff, in response via a blog post, isn’t impressed by ‘this new sort of web journalism’. He sees it as ‘dramatically discredited people reinvented as web opinionists’.

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