Shortly before he was sentenced, Black read a short statement to the court.
It said: "I do wish to express very profound regret and sadness at the severe hardship suffered by all the shareholders, including employees, by the evaporation of $1.85 billion (£90.3 million) in shareholder value under my successors [at Hollinger.]"
The only really satisfactory part of all of this is that the shareholders—who brought the original case against Black—have been absolutely, comprehensively, financially fucked up the arse without lube, a fact that makes me extraordinarily happy.
Indeed, Conrad Black was interviewed on Newsnight last night and came across rather well, I thought. During the interview, he said he had, a few years ago, been offered US$19 per share for the US company and CAN$8.44 per share for the Canadian business; he then pointed out that the US company was currently trading at US$1.05 per share and that the Canadian shares were worthless.
As he said, he felt sorry for the shareholders—"... including me: I was the biggest shareholder..."—but that he had no apologies to make to them. Good for him.
The shareholders got greedy and, having deposed Black, they are now massively out of pocket—to the tune of $1.85 billion*, if Black is to be believed. And you know what: fuck 'em, the stupid, avaricious bastards.
NOTE TO THE TELEGRAPH: $1.85 billion is not £90.3 million. $1,850,000,000 is £903,545,000 which is just over nine hundred and three million pounds, not ninety point three million.
For fuck's sake, don't these people have editors?