Monday, December 10, 2007

Lord Black: Fraudster Backed by Hague, Tebbit, Johnson

Lord Conrad Black (wiki) believed, says Andrew Neild, that he was a "Master of the Universe" to whom mortal, earthly rules simply did not apply. All the cash he stole was his by rights. So he is appealling the six-and-a-half year sentence for being an evil crook and original Lord Offshore. "Don't you know who I am?" At least it's not 35 years.

Meanwhile Elton John, Lord Tebbit, William Hague and Boris Johnson are among 100 assorted idiots who wrote letters pleading clemency for the unrepentant fraudster. The Globe and Mail names more names and includes some snippets (Google Cache).

Rather like Lord Ashcroft our man was proposed for a peerage by William "14-pint" Hague. And again rather like Lord Ashcroft this distinguished conservative didn't make the lordly leap at the first time of asking. Essentially the appalling embezzler was thwarted by the beastly Canadians:

Black's initial attempt to accept the British peerage, offered by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was thwarted by then Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chrétien, who referred to the 1919 Nickle Resolution, by which the Canadian House of Commons resolved that the Canadian Monarch should not confer titular honours on Canadians.
Black attempted to work around the Canadian Prime Minister by taking dual British and Canadian citizenship, claiming that he would accept the peerage from the Queen as a British citizen rather than as a Canadian citizen. After this proved unsuccessful, with Chrétien still asserting that Blair could not have the Queen give a titular honour to a Canadian, Black initiated a lawsuit against Chrétien, arguing that the Canadian Prime Minister's strict interpretation of the Nickle Resolution, which is not a law, was payback for Black's political opinions and past criticism of Chrétien.
Black lost the lawsuit on the first instance and on appeal, with the Court of Appeal for Ontario stating that the Prime Minister of Canada was within his constitutional rights to advise the Queen on the exercise of her Royal Prerogative.[12] In 2001, Black gave up his Canadian citizenship, with every intention of applying to have it reinstated once Chrétien was out of office; Black's lawyer, Eddie Greenspan, stated Black argued about his citizenship: "it was stolen from him" by "spiteful" former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.[13] He became a member of the Hurlingham Club, and was created a life peer as Baron Black of Crossharbour, of Crossharbour in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, where he sat as a member of the British Conservative Party until July 13, 2007, when he was denied the whip (effectively expelling him from the Conservative Party grouping in the House of Lords) as a result of his conviction.

Lord Ashcroft probably is the Prime Minister of Belize? So he didn't have quite the same hassles. Lord Archer of course sailed through with no bother, years before.


Anonymous said...

Entertaining to compare your defence of Ms Grell with your attack of Lord Black - but that's just a cheap shot, I know.

Interetsing that Lord Black is preparing to appeal - and that many of the charges brought against him were discharged or were not successful.

From a legal perspective, there are intersting features - what is the effect of shareholder and board approval of payments to an individual director?

As to people writing letters seeking clemency - not sure that they can fairly be described as 'idiots' for doing so. The American courts take a different view of what we would describe as mitigation statements - emphasis is placed on the statements and letters from people who will only talk about the 'good' that the convicted person has done.

As to the argument between Black and Chretien - there are some historical reasons relating to Quebec that 'justify' Chretien being less than charitable ...

Having said all of that; Black is convicted in a court in the USA for fraud. If you don't do the crime, you shouldn't end up doing time ...

But that takes us back to 42 days ... something that you and I agree on - I suspect!

Chris Paul said...

I should think so on that last point. But sadly Lib Dem Lord Carlisle is cooperating with the powers of darkness in the throw away the key brigade.


Have some of the charges faded away under plea bargains or other negotiations (as he has not owned up to anything has he?). I think Andrew Neill's appraisal is fairly reliable.


Don't think I defended Ms Grell as such. Have no time for the behaviours of which she has been twice convicted or campaign lies in general - including about policies and events e.g. whether a hospital is or is not threatened with closure.

Thought the initial press coverage was wrong. But it wasn't. Corrected that. And wanted to see an appeal in view of the importance of this law, though from my POV it has still not calibrated the law very well. But I've not seen a transcript.

The confusion between the Labour Party funding her appeal and an insurance company doing so has been damaging but no-one has answered my query at Iain's over whether Tory and LD election insurance would also have provided cover.


William Hague doesn't come out of this as an especially good judge of character. Perhaps he was forced by the popular vote to back Archer. There is no reference to the assertion on the wiki over whether he was unwilling. But not sure why he backed Black's peerage ... and hopefully Ashcroft is going to stop making a liar of the poor man fairly soon. said...

He was either aquitted by the jury or the prosecution withdrew many of the main charges. Much of the evidence that convicted him came from a man who did a plea-bargain deal with the prosecuters, an American practice about which 'I hae me doots'! Even so, guilty is the verdict and thus he must do his time.

However, I cannot express enough admiration for the people who have stood by him in his adversity. For every Boris, or Tebbit, or Elton (ah, bless!) there are scores of lick-spittlers who were happy to accept his hospitality or his business in the good times, and who have deserted him now. Indeed, there are a number of writers from 'Her Majesty's Torygraph' who have been eager to put the boot in despite accepting his 'wages of sin' in the past.

In the great pantheon of criminality, Lord Black's activities are pretty small beer. The one good thing he will possess as a result of all this is the knowledge of who his true friends are.
David Duff

Anonymous said...

Black is a kleptocrat of the kind the Tory party needs to be well shot of if it is to have any hope of ever winning again. The fact that top Tories were still trying to cling to Black indicates that they haven't changed. David Duff and his rant above proves it.

Are the Tories going to pay back Black's donations now? Seeing as he stole that money?

Chris Paul said...

Good question anonymous 15:52. Black still had the Tory whip in the Lords until July I think it was.

Ashcroft has still not responded to Guido's ultimatum to come clean.

And Archer remains one hell of a blot.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the whip was withdrawn from Archer long ago and his attempts to rejoin have been rebuffed.

As to Black, I am not sure, but I suspect that the whip has already been withdrawn.

There is a serious issue between the UK and the US ... there are offences in the US to do with wire fraud that were not even offences in the UK until relatively recently ... the morality of that is a different matter. The uproar over the NatWest 3 (also now convicted as a result of admission) raised this point splendidly.

As to donations long since spent ... all parties have received sums and provided that they have changed position and are 'equity's darling' there is no question of an account requiring them to repay donations made to them.

Anonymous said...

Never mind Chris the ethnic cleansing blog is not working I cannot post a comment!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Its Yasmin

Chris Paul said...

Hi Yasmin

Blogger has changed its rules. But you should be able to post under a nickname which could be your own name. Or you could create a blogger identity and post as that. If you do that you can decide not to have a public profile.

Best w

Chris P