Conrad Black, the former media mogul who was indicted on fraud charges last year and is preparing his defence ahead of a 2007 trial, faced the prospect of being put behind bars on Monday after federal prosecutors asked a judge in Chicago to revoke his bail.
The former chairman and chief executive of Hollinger International was accused in a court filing by government prosecutors of lying about his assets and making misrepresentations about a lien on his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, which the government suggested Lord Black should be ordered to sell.
Prosecutors also claimed that Lord Black had failed to make a mortgage payment last month on the Florida property, in violation of a court agreement, and called for the judge to either force Lord Black to put up more of his assets to secure his bail, or have it revoked.
The government also pointed to a claim by the former executive that he possessed less than $300,000 in liquid assets, although he recently wrote a $460,279 cheque to pay Florida property taxes and, according to a report in the Toronto Star, made a donation of $500,000 to a Canadian opera company.
Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 26.
The news represented yet another example of how far Lord Black, who once rubbed elbows with some of the brightest business and political figures in the world and had private jets fly him and his wife to Bora Bora, has fallen since an internal investigation at the company he once ran exposed a “corporate kleptocracy”, accusing him and others of siphoning off $400m from the company to finance their lavish lifestyle. Lord Black has vehemently denied the allegations.
His defence attorneys have previously accused the government of imposing “substantial” financial hardship on their client in order to weaken his ability to pay his mounting legal bills and defend himself in court proceedings.
Prosecutors last year seized nearly $9m from the Canadian-born peer following the sale of his New York apartment – a property that the government claims he acquired at an artificially low price from Hollinger International.
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