Black pleads the Fifth

Black pleads the Fifth

Telegraph-owner Lord Conrad Black is heading for a tense New Year with US finance regulators after pleading the infamous Fifth Amendment in front of investigators in Chicago yesterday.

The dramatic showdown - in which Black refused to answer questions in line with right contained in the US constitution in case he incriminate himself - with the Securities and Exchange Commission follows months of high drama within his organisation, Hollinger International.

The SEC's inquiry into Lord Black's empire centres on alleged unauthorised payments to executives and poor governance of his business.

Lawyers for Lord Black, who was given a British peerage after relinquishing his Canadian citizenship, told investigators the former Hollinger International chief executive would not answer questions until adequate time had been made to gather relevant material needed for the case.

John Warden, who represented Microsoft during their protracted anti-trust hearings with the US government in the late 1990s, leads Lord Black's defence team.

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