White-Collar Crime

Wealth Isn’t Criminal, Ex-CEO’s Lawyers Say

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A lawyer for Conrad Black told jurors today that prosecutors appeared to be trying to convict their client for his wealth and lavish lifestyle.

“Being wealthy doesn’t make you a bad man,” lawyer Edward Genson said in closing arguments today, according to an Associated Press account.

Genson characterized Black as a brilliant entrepreneur who had done good things as CEO of Hollinger International.

Black and other former Hollinger executives are accused of misappropriating $60 million in noncompete payments made by buyers of Hollinger media properties. Black has also been charged with fraud for paying Hollinger $3 million for a New York apartment worth as much as $5.5 million more.

Genson told jurors Black deserved the apartment because he was the face of the company, Bloomberg News reports. He said the media baron had paid for furnishings himself even though a contract required Hollinger to foot the bill.

Yesterday lawyer Edward Greenspan launched closing arguments for Black, saying prosecutors had failed to produce any victims, Reuters reports.

“We’ve been sitting here for 14 weeks. Where are the shareholders? Where are the victims?” he asked.

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