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Last Updated: Friday, 3 June, 2005, 06:10 GMT 07:10 UK
Lord Black quits Hollinger board
Lord Black was ousted as Hollinger International chief executive
Lord Black is facing a number of legal challenges
Disgraced tycoon Conrad Black has resigned from the board of newspaper owner Hollinger International.

According to the firm, Lord Black and his wife Barbara said in a letter they were retiring with "immediate effect".

Lord Black is currently the subject of a criminal investigation in the US, as well as a civil lawsuit.

The cases relate to allegations from Hollinger that he made millions of dollars of unauthorised payments from the firm to himself and others.

Meanwhile, Canadian media reports said a Canadian judge had ruled that Lord Black would have to answer questions from Ernst & Young.

The auditor is carrying out a court-ordered examination of the finances of Hollinger International's parent, Toronto-based Hollinger.

In April, Lord Black's lawyers had argued that he should not be forced to answer any such questions, because the Canadian legal system could not offer guarantees that his testimony would not be used against him in the pending US actions.

Legal battles

A civil case in America - launched by finance watchdog the Securities and Exchange Commission - has accused Lord Black, his former deputy David Radler and their Canadian company Hollinger Inc of fraudulently taking $85m (46m) from newspaper group Hollinger International.

They are accused of taking the money from US newspaper group Hollinger International between 1994 and 2003 - which they then controlled - for their own personal use.

Lord Black and his co-defendants deny the charges.

In a separate civil lawsuit, Hollinger International claims Lord Black "stole" $380.6m to fund everything from a private jet to a Rolls-Royce and even payments to his butler.

Hollinger, a holding company, continues to own 18% of Hollinger International, but since its shares bring 10 times as many votes as the rest of the firm's issued equity, Hollinger has effective control.

Hollinger International owns the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper and last year sold the Daily Telegraph in London and Israel's Jerusalem Post.

Lord Black resigned as chief executive officer of Hollinger International in November 2003 as part of a failed bid to take the company private.

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