Black set to appear in US court

Media tycoon Lord Black is due to appear in a US court on Thursday to face charges of fraud.

He was indicted last month on eight counts of fraud, accused of taking money from newspaper group Hollinger International for his own use.

The British peer has denied all the charges, calling them “absolute nonsense”.

Two other former Hollinger executives charged with fraud failed to appear in court in Chicago on Wednesday.

US Attorney Robert Kent said the non-appearance of former Hollinger accountant Jack Boultbee and former vice-president Peter Atkinson showed an “unfortunate disrespect” for the court.

Lawyers for Mr Atkinson said he would appear alongside Lord Black on Thursday.

Mr Kent said lawyers for Mr Boultbee said their client could not attend Wednesday’s hearing because of unspecified personal matters.

Lord Black will enter his plea and post bail during what is expected to be a short hearing.

Prosecutors issued a warrant for Lord Black’s arrest last month but said they expected him to appear voluntarily before the court.

The hearing has already been delayed twice at the request of his legal team.

Lord Black and three others – Mr Atkinson, Mr Boultbee and former Hollinger lawyer Mark Kipnis – have been accused of using shareholder money to enrich themselves.

Prosecutors claim they diverted money from the sale of newspaper assets owned by Hollinger International for their own benefit and engaged in a series of unauthorised transactions.

Lord Black, the former owner of the Daily Telegraph, faces up to 40 years in jail if convicted.

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