Penalties imposed on former Hollinger International CEO Conrad Black by the Ontario Securities Commission remain in force despite Donald Trump’s granting of clemency — but a former White House pardon attorney says the regulator could be motivated to take another look.
“I think they might, because it has been quite a long time — he’s served his sentence and the sovereign jurisdiction that convicted him thinks it’s time for him to start anew and to get a second chance,” said Margaret Love whose law practice in Washington, D.C. specializes in executive clemency.
Love, who served as U.S. Pardon Attorney between 1990 and 1997 before leaving public office, said the pardon does not compel foreign jurisdictions or even the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to unravel any regulatory or other consequences that flowed from the court’s decision.
That’s partly because the pardon applies in the U.S. and because of the arm’s-length relationship between the SEC and the White House, she added.
Black, the Montreal-born author and former CEO of Hollinger International, which published newspapers including the National Post, was found guilty of wire fraud and obstruction of justice in 2007 after a Chicago court ruled he conspired with other executives to divert funds from the sale of newspapers. He served more than three years in U.S. federal prison and was also fined $125,000 (U.S.)
Based on the criminal conviction in the U.S., a panel of the OSC in 2015 permanently banned Black from serving as a director or officer of any public or private company that issues securities in Ontario. The country’s premier stock market regulator determined that the conduct by Black and former Hollinger executive John Boultbee was “sufficiently abusive” to warrant the ban.
The Canadian government also removed Black as an officer of the Order of Canada.
“The same bans and conditions remain,” OSC spokesperson Kristen Rose said, adding that she could not comment on whether a review of the conditions will be undertaken.
A spokesperson for the office of the Governor General which invests the Order of Canada did not respond by deadline to inquiries about whether the withdrawal of the award will be reviewed in the light of the Trump pardon.
Michael Lewis is a Toronto-based reporter covering business. Follow him on Twitter: @MLewisStar