Hollinger clocks up $102m legal bill

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Hollinger International, the scandal-hit newspaper publisher, has spent more than $102m (£59m) fighting a legal battle with its former chairman Lord Black of Crossharbour.

In the latest financial figures it has released, for the three months to the end of September, profits were wiped out by continuing litigation fees.

In the period, the loss was $9.1m after Hollinger International spent $9.4m on legal costs related to lawsuit against Lord Black and his associates for "looting" the company of $542m in bogus fees. The company said that the total costs of the litigation had reached $102m at the end of September. The legal costs started on 17 June 2003, when the company began examining "non-compete" fees received by Lord Black and others. Lord Black denies all charges.

A year earlier, the third quarter was profitable but that was only because Hollinger International gained from the sale of its Jerusalem Post title. Earlier this year, the company sold its assets in the UK, which included The Daily Telegraph.

Separately, Hollinger International said that it had rejected a request for two seats on its board from Hollinger Inc, the company used by Lord Black to control Hollinger International.

In the latest development in the tussle between the two corporate entities, Hollinger International said that it was instead offering just one seat to Hollinger Inc.

Hollinger Inc controls a 17 per cent equity stake and 67 per cent voting stake in Hollinger International.

Hollinger Inc has said that the two seats it seeks are proportional to its ownership stake in Hollinger International, whose remaining assets include the Chicago Sun-Times.