Black set to leave London as £14m house goes on sale

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lord Black has put his house on the market and is preparing to leave the UK after his attempts last week to stop the Barclay brothers buying the Telegraph newspaper group failed.

Lord Black has put his house on the market and is preparing to leave the UK after his attempts last week to stop the Barclay brothers buying the Telegraph newspaper group failed.

Lord Black's £14m, 10-bedroom Kensington home, which he shares with his wife, former Daily Telegraph columnist Barbara Amiel, was put up for sale last week.

A source close to Lord Black said last night: "Now that the Telegraph sale is completed, he doesn't have any significant business interests in London. He no longer needs a house that size here."

The home became symbolic of their lavish lifestyle when Ms Amiel invited fashion magazine Vogue to see it. Even the well-heeled fashionistas were amazed at the contents of her warren of wardrobes. During this visit, she uttered the now infamous words: "My extravagance knows no bounds."

Lord Black gave up his Canadian citizenship three years ago to accept the peerage which is usually granted to owners of the Telegraph. But it is understood that the couple have spent most of the year at their mansion in Canada as the drama has unfolded.

His Florida mansion is also on the market and could fetch $18m. It would be wrong to say that this is the end of Lord Black. But it is a rapid fall from grace for the - now former - newspaper baron used to jetting around the world in the company's two jets.

He has complained of being portrayed as having been "shamed, disgraced and ... a scoundrel".

His stock has clearly suffered. Yesterday, on the eBay internet auction site, a second-hand copy of his autobiography was being sold for £3. With bidding closing today, it had attracted no bids.

Lord Black is the largest shareholder of the US-based newspaper group Hollinger International. It finally completed the deal to sell the Telegraph group, consisting of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunnday Telegraph and The Spectator, to the Barclay brothers for £665m on Friday. He desperately tried to block the sale in the Delaware courts last week, arguing that the deal was not good for shareholders. He said Hollinger International shareholders should be given the opportunity to approve the sale. But that case was not helped by his attempts to strike a secret sale with the Barclays behind the back of the Hollinger International board and other shareholders. In January, a judge ruled that the secret deal was unlawful.

The sale of the Telegraph group has been protracted and bizarre. Both sides have used the courts to trade insults, Lord Black alleging "blatant thievery" of his rights.

One shareholder lawsuit filed against the peer said: "For Lord Black, wealth and extravagance are a birthright to be continued in the fashion of Citizen Kane - that is before the mythical figure's downfall."

Even though the Telegraph sale is completed, the legal battle is not over. Lord Black is being sued by the board of Hollinger International, which includes such luminaries as the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger.

In a $1.25bn racketeering suit, they accuse Lord Black and his associates of paying themselves unauthorised "management fees" from company coffers.

Comments