Hollinger investor seeks access to internal records

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The shareholder row at the media company Hollinger International, the owner of The Daily Telegraph, deepened yesterday as one investor went to court, demanding access to key records.

Cardinal Value Equity Partners, which owns about 1.5 million shares in Hollinger International, is hoping to get access to a raft of internal company documents. "They [the shareholder] want access to everything basically. They want to inspect books and records, everything, including board minutes," said one source.

The suit, which has been filed with the Delaware Chancery Court, is the latest blow for Hollinger International. Lord Black of Crossharbour, the company's head, and other executives have been lambasted for allegedly enriching themselves through a series of management fees.

The latest filing says Hollinger International has "not even attempted to fulfil its obligations" to produce records and documents demanded by shareholders. Cardinal Value Equity Partners has asked for all manner of documents - a list that takes up seven or eight pages of the filing. "It's a shotgun kind of request," said another source.

Only last month, another shareholder, Tweedy Browne, filed a suit alleging two new improper payments had been made to Lord Black and other directors.

The two latest concerns centred on the divestment of assets. The first deal concerned the sale of four Hollinger newspapers to Bradford Publishing, a company owned and controlled by Lord Black and fellow directors. The second was the divestment of most of Hollinger's Canadian newspapers to CanWest in the year 2000.