Legal fees for Conrad Black and others caught up in the scandal at Hollinger International Inc. have topped $100-million (U.S.).
Recent court and regulatory filings show that Sun-Times Media Group Inc., formerly known as Hollinger International, has shelled out $107.7-million in legal fees and indemnification costs for various former executives who have been involved in civil and criminal actions.
Lord Black and three other former Sun-Times executives diverted millions of dollars from the company and they were convicted of fraud in July. Lord Black also was convicted of obstruction of justice.
They all plan to appeal the convictions after sentencing next month.
Sun-Times has been obliged to pay 75 per cent of the legal bills in the criminal case.
However, the company may seek to recover the money if the convictions are upheld on appeal.
The company has also been covering 50 per cent of the legal bills incurred by Lord Black and several others in various civil actions stemming from the fraud.
The issue surfaced in a court filing late Tuesday by lawyers representing David Radler, Lord Black's former right-hand man at Sun-Times. Mr. Radler pleaded guilty to one fraud charge and testified against the others. He is expected to receive 29 months in jail in return for his co-operation.
The filing was submitted as part of Mr. Radler's sentencing process. In it, Mr. Radler's lawyers noted the large amount of restitution Mr. Radler has paid since reaching the plea agreement in 2005. According to the filing, Mr. Radler has paid Sun-Times just over $53-million. The money represented non-competition fees, management fees, legal fees and sale proceeds he received from the company dating back to 2000.
“The magnitude of Mr. Radler's $53-million repayments to [Sun-Times] is striking when compared to the [$107-million] in fees and costs that [Sun-Times] has advanced to indemnified parties in connection with numerous civil and criminal proceedings, including the substantial fees advanced to Mr. Radler's co-defendants in this criminal case,” the filing said.
Mr. Radler is still involved in the newspaper business and the filing offered a glimpse into his holdings. It showed that he is the sole shareholder of Vancouver-based North American Newspapers Ltd. and controls Horizon Publications Inc., which owns about 40 papers in Canada and the United States. He also owns 25 per cent of Bradford Publishing Co., a Pennsylvania-based company.