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Media mogul's arraignment pushed back to next week

CHICAGO - The scheduled arraignment Tuesday for Conrad Black was pushed back to Nov. 30 after an attorney for the fallen media baron requested more time to determine who will represent Black in court.

Black, 61, faces charges he defrauded the Hollinger International Inc. publishing empire out of tens of millions of

dollars.

The government's lead attorney in the case, Robert Kent, agreed to the postponement. The government obtained arrest warrants last week, but the prosecution is not pursuing extradition at this point, Kent said.

''We have arrest warrants in our possession. Hopefully we will not need to execute them,'' Kent said.

Randy Samborn, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, declined to speculate whether Black's arrest will be sought if he does not appear on Nov. 30.

Black was charged last Thursday with siphoning millions of dollars out of the company he once controlled through bogus fees and abuses of perquisites, such as using the corporate jet for a vacation in Bora Bora and dipping into the Hollinger treasury to pay for his wife's birthday party.

Black, who has homes in Toronto, London and Palm Springs, Calif., faces a maximum 40 years in prison if convicted on all eight counts.

Hollinger International Inc. owns the Chicago Sun-Times and other publications in the United States and Canada and formerly controlled the Daily Telegraph of London and the Jerusalem Post.

The arraignments of two other former Hollinger executives also were postponed to Nov. 30.

John A. ''Jack'' Boultbee, 62, of Toronto, and Peter Y. Atkinson, 58, a Canadian attorney, were charged along with Black last week.

According to last week's indictment, Hollinger's $2.1 billion sale of several hundred U.S. and Canadian publishing properties was awash in fraud.

Millions of dollars were paid by the buyers to Black and his co-defendants through what was called noncompete agreements but really were just ways of skimming cash, prosecutors said.

Newspaper companies often get payments for agreeing not to compete in the same circulation area after they sell their papers, prosecutors said. But they said that in normal sales such payments ordinarily go to the shareholders, not to individual executives of the company.