IS ONE of the world’s most powerful manipulators of people’s minds a crook and a thief?
Lord Conrad Black, friend of the British royals and top politicians everywhere, resigned on Monday as chief executive of the Hollinger International newspaper group.
Huge sums of money have gone astray.
Hollinger is the group which owns the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and 127 other titles across the globe.
Under Black the Telegraph is a fanatically pro US government, pro-Israel, pro war against Iraq newspaper. It has campaigned against the peace process in Ireland.
Black and a tiny group of other senior executives have received nearly $300 million in payments from Hollinger since 1995. Some was “service agreements” and the rest “non-compete fees”—paid by other newspapers in return for Black not launching a rival to them.
The focus at the start of this week was on $32 million of undisclosed or “misreported” payments.
Black’s papers were the ones that accused anti-war MP George Galloway of financial misdealing!
The whole corporate structure of the newspapers involved is incredibly complex.
The Telegraph and a string of other titles are owned by Hollinger International. This in turn is controlled by Hollinger Inc, Lord Black’s holding company.
This in turn is 78 percent owned by a private company called Ravelston, controlled by Black and a few friends. Money sloshed between these companies.
The exposures now have come about because Black has ripped off other fat cats.
Millions of dollars that looked destined for shareholders went into the pockets of Lord Black and Hollinger International’s president, David Radler.
Black is not the first newspaper tycoon to be caught up in financial scandal.
Media mogul Robert Maxwell stole hundreds of millions of pounds from his workers’ pension fund.
This week has lifted the lid on the corrupt world of the media bosses who pontificate about the wonders of capitalism.
These are the men who thunder against workers when they go on strike, or mock any attempt to interfere with business “freedom”.
These are the men who try to tell us how to vote and how to live.
These are the men who get into 10 Downing Street and are wooed by politicians of all the main parties.