The prosecution’s star witness in the case against media tycoon
Conrad Black has been called a liar by the
defence – and admitted the accusation is true.
The drama unfolded in court this week as Black’s partner in the publishing
business, David Radler, took the witness stand.
‘I wasn’t totally truthful,’ Radler admitted.
‘Not totally truthful – is that what you call it?’ Black’s defence lawyer
Edward Greenspan demanded.
Radler finally cracked: ‘Call it lying.’
Greenspan accused Radler of serious discrepancies in his testimony and in the
statements he gave to a special committee in 2003.
He said Radler never told the committee – which was investigating shareholder
concerns – that his boss, Conrad Black, had a plan to funnel money away from
Hollinger International. He said he initially lied about his role in a plan to
pocket ‘non-compete’ fees because he was afraid of the consequences.
Greenspan said Radler is doing the same thing in the courtroom and is lying
to keep a deal with prosecutors that will see him serve a light sentence.
When asked how many – of 24 federal investigators he met during his guilty
plea – he had lied to, Radler said: ‘I’m going to say a fair number of them’.
The critical admission of Radler is set to seriously hurt the prosecution’s
case, as he was the first government witness to testify in the trial in which
Black is accused of committing fraud against shareholders of
Hollinger International Newspaper.
Payments for assets of the company were allegedly deflected to a Canadian
company managed by Black.
The prosecution alleges that Radler and Black robbed
Hollinger of more than $60m by concealing
Radler pleaded guilty – for which he is expected to receive a jail sentence
of 29 months – and then agreed to testify against his former partners in the
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