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OSC proceedings against Conrad Black wrap up

TORONTO - Proceedings held by the Ontario Securities Commission on whether it should go ahead with hearings against Conrad Black wrapped up on Friday.

A decision whether a proceeding to 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 one other former executive, should be banned from trading securities or becoming directors of public companies, a move they say would 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, director or officer of a reporting issuer in Ontario by a temporary 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 proceeding to be dismissed, saying that any further hearings are "unnecessary" and "constitute abuse of process.''

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