Guilty or not, Conrad Black points to the sickness in our City

Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | Guilty or not, Conrad Black points to the sickness in our City

This is a great piece about the trial of former media tycoon and all’round a*hole Conrad Black. It seems that through the vagaries of the bourgeois legal system he might get off scott free with the attempted robbery of shareholders through dodgy sales.

Nick Cohen blogs at the Guardian in London. Here’s a taster of his acerbic, but very accurate commentary on the capitalist system of “Justice” for the rich and almighty:

His guilt seemed guaranteed. Here was an arch conservative, who owned the Telegraph group, spoke with orotund self-satisfaction, befriended Henry Kissinger and married Barbara Amiel. Given his record, most of us took a conviction for granted.

Representatives of Black’s shareholders in Hollinger Inc reinforced our certainty when they declared that Black and his associate, David Radler, presided over a ‘corporate kleptocracy’ and had engaged in the ‘self-righteous and aggressive looting’ of the company ‘to the exclusion of all other concerns or interests, and irrespective of whether their actions were remotely fair to shareholders’.

And when, in a curtain-raiser for the main event in the Chicago criminal courts, Judge Leo Strine in the American state of Delaware added in a civil judgment that Black had tried to sell the Telegraph newspapers behind his shareholders’ backs ‘in a cunning and calculated way’, there didn’t appear to be anything left to argue about.

As it has turned out, the trial of Conrad Black has not been a morality play in which the forces of justice have humbled the mighty. Rather, it has been a scratchy affair, whose outcome is far from certain. Although I can’t see a working-class Chicago jury warming to the tales of private jets and expense account parties, impartial observers aren’t putting money on the outcome.

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