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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 December 2005, 20:47 GMT
Black faces racketeering charge
Lord Black at a recent event in Toronto
Lord Black is now facing racketeering charges
US prosecutors have indicted media tycoon Conrad Black on further charges - including one of racketeering.

Lord Black is also facing additional charges of obstruction of justice, money laundering and mail fraud, officials confirmed.

The move comes just two weeks after Lord Black pleaded not guilty to eight charges of fraud in a Chicago court.

Lord Black and three executives have been accused of diverting almost $84m (49m) from Hollinger International.

The latest charges were levelled one day before he is due to appear in court in Chicago.

Stiffer sentences

By charging Lord Black with racketeering - which means engaging in an ongoing criminal enterprise with his co-defendants - prosecutors can demand higher sentences, penalties and allow courts to confiscate his assets.

The four additional charges relate to the fraud schemes, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement, as well as to claims that Lord Black removed boxes of documents from his companies' Toronto offices.

The statement also said a further charge of fraud had also been brought against one of his co-defendants, John Boultbee.

Lord Black's lawyer said the new charges were a "blatant example of over-reaching" by federal prosecutors.

"Mr Black asserts his innocence without qualification... (and) has, at all times, acted in good faith," Edward Greenspan said in a statement.

On 17 November, Lord Black and three former Hollinger executives were charged with 11 counts of fraud in the US, linked to a $2.1bn (1.2bn) sale of hundreds of Canadian newspapers.

Lord Black and his co-defendants stand accused of having cheated both Hollinger International's US and Canadian shareholders, and tax authorities in Canada in three fraudulent schemes between 1998 and 2002.

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