Black sues Hollinger directors for £343m

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The Independent Online

Lord black of Crossharbour filed a libel suit in a Canadian court yesterday against several independent directors of Hollinger International, seeking C$850m (£343m) in damages.

The suit filed in Ontario Superior Court is the latest salvo in a duel between Black and board members of the company he built into a publishing heavyweight. Hollinger International, which publishes The Daily Telegraph in the UK and the Chicago Sun Times, last month ousted Lord Black as chairman and sued him, accusing him of collecting improper payments. Lord Black denies any wrongdoing.

Black's lawsuit named Hollinger directors Gordon Paris, James Thompson, Richard Burt, Graham Savage, and Raymond Seitz. It also named former US Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Richard Breeden, who is overseeing a panel investigating the company's finances during Lord Black's tenure as chief executive.

The lawsuit accuses Breeden and the directors of making false, malicious and misleading statements about the special payments Lord Black received. "The defendants sought to destroy Black personally, professionally and financially and to transform him from a respected owner of a successful media chain into a loathsome laughing stock," the lawsuit said.

Lord Black is trying to sell his controlling stake in Hollinger to the Barclay brothers, in a deal that Hollinger International is preparing to go to court in Delaware next week to fight.