TORONTO – Conrad Black’s former business partner David Radler has been barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company in Ontario for his role in the fraud at Hollinger newspaper group, but has escaped financial penalty.
The plea agreement approved Wednesday saw the Ontario Securities Commission withdraw all charges against Radler.
Radler, who lives in Vancouver and oversees a privately held newspaper group, was not present at the 15-minute hearing in downtown Toronto.
“Mr. Radler is moving on with his life,” said his lawyer, David J. Martin.
The ban is indefinite, although Radler can apply to have it reviewed at any time.
OSC Commissioner Christopher Portner said he was “satisfied” with the joint-agreement and that it kept in line with the regulator’s mandate of protecting Ontario’s capital markets.
Radler is also prohibited from becoming a registrant, employee, director or officer of a registrant or an affiliated public company in Ontario. He must also refrain from directly or indirectly trading or acquiring securities related to Hollinger Inc.
Wednesday’s deal is related to charges originally filed in March 2005 against Radler, Black, and Hollinger Inc., which at one time controlled a newspaper empire that operated in Canada, the United States, Britain and elsewhere.
The OSC’s administrative proceedings were interrupted by years of legal proceedings in the United States, including criminal charges against the former executives of Hollinger International.
The group was accused of cheating shareholders and tax authorities in the U.S. and Canada.
Radler eventually pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud at U.S District Court and was sentenced to 29 months in jail and a fine of $250,000.
As part of his plea bargain, Radler testified for the prosecution in a lengthy trial against his former colleagues, including once good friend Black.
Portner cited that Wednesday’s agreement was “appropriate” in light of the conclusion of the U.S. case. Hollinger Inc. has since been sold off piece by piece over the past few years.
In 2007, Radler reached an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and agreed to pay a fine of US$28.7 million and be permanently barred from serving as a company director or officer in the U.S.
Since he was released from prison, he has been overseeing the operations at the Alberta Newspaper Group, a privately held regional newspaper chain.
The OSC said Wednesday proceedings against Black and the other Hollinger executives John Boultbee and Peter Atkinson have yet to be resolved.
Black served 37 months of a 42-month sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice while he was head of Hollinger International. He returned to Canada in May under a temporary resident permit as he is no longer a citizen.