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Thursday, February 05, 2004

White-hatted Posse hauls Virtual Aristocrat before Wet Noodle Ontario Securities Commission

A week ago, a posse of white-hatted U.S. investors caught up with Lord (Nonesuch) Black. Broke and on the run, Conrad Black had tried to hand the assets of the Hollinger newspaper empire out the back door, at a bargain basement price, to two mysterious English twins. In return, the twins agreed to slip Black and his business buddies US$66 million under the table. U.S. straight-shooter Tweedy Brown quickly spotted the open door and called out a posse of irate investors. But the scam is being carried out through Black's Toronto company, Hollinger Inc. All the investors can do is try to shame some spine into Toronto's wet noodle Ontario Securities Commission. Canadian law is full of loopholes, is permissive and friendly to con artists. This week both top-notch Montreal investment manager Stephen Jarislowski and the former publisher of one of Black's B.C. newspapers reported they'd blown the whistle on Black to the Commission many months ago - the Commission ignored them both. But whatever credibility Toronto's Bay Street has is through the Securities Commission. To continue to permit Black to carry on his raping and pillaging might result in a flood of investors leaving Bay Street. The battle continues.

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