$63 million paid to finalize case

Three newspaper companies and a top associate to former newspaper baron Conrad Black agreed to pay more than $63.4 million to the Sun-Times Media Group to settle legal claims and pay outstanding debt, officials said.

David Radler, the former president of Hollinger Intl. who is now the star witness in the trial against Black, agreed to pay $21.2 million to the Sun-Times, the Chicago-based company announced Sunday.

Radler’s wholly owned North American Newspapers Ltd. will pay $23.3 million. Meanwhile, Horizon Publishing and Bradford Publishing, companies controlled by Black and Radler, each agreed to pay $11.78 and $7.15 million respectively.

The deal came two days after Radler agreed to pay $28.7 million to settle civil fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC accused Black and Radler of looting the company of $84 million.

Radler, who neither acknowledged nor denied the SEC’s allegations, also was barred for life from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

Radler pleaded guilty in September 2005 to taking part in a scheme to siphon $32 million from Hollinger, the parent of the Sun-Times and other newspapers. He agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in exchange for a 29-month sentence and $250,000 criminal fine, and became a witness against Black — the former Hollinger chairman whose trial on charges of racketeering, mail and tax fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice began last week in Chicago.

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