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Ontario regulator wraps up proceedings against Conrad Black, decision in months

TORONTO - Two days of proceedings held by the Ontario Securities Commission on whether to hold hearings to impose regulatory sanctions against Conrad Black wrapped up on Friday.

A decision on the proceedings, which will determine if Black is banned from participating in Ontario's capital markets, will be released "in the coming months," OSC spokeswoman Aly Vitunski said in an email.

Allegations from the provincial regulator say that directors and officers of Hollinger Inc. and Hollinger International engaged in "a scheme'' to line their pockets with company proceeds through a system of non-competition payments.

The OSC wants to determine whether Black and two other executives should be banned from trading securities or becoming directors of public companies, to protect other investors in the province.

Black's lawyers say there is no need for such an order because Black has been barred from being a registrant or a director or officer of a reporting issuer in Ontario by an OSC order that's been in place for about eight years. It will continue to be in effect until Black makes a request to have it lifted, or the commission decides to remove the restrictions.

Lawyer Peter Howard, who represents Black, has asked for the case to be dismissed, saying that any further hearings are "unnecessary" and "constitute abuse of process.''

The Canadian Press

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