Conrad and Lady Black: Dancing on the Edge
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The riveting tale of how the wannabe aristo Conrad Black and his social mountaineering wife Barbara gulled their way into the City, the Tory party, Wall Street and High Society. The rise and fall of the media tycoon Conrad Black is rivalled in its spectacular extravagance only by the machinations of his social mountaineering wife, Barbara Amiel. Together their story of overweening ambition and greed is a modern-day classic of hubris. There is no bolder or better-informed chronicler of the follies of the rich and powerful than Tom Bower. Fearless in the approach which has brought him accolades for his gripping exposes of Robert Maxwell, Tiny Rowland, Mohammed Fayed and Richard Branson, Bower reveals how the Blacks financed a billionaire's lifestyle and won friends and influence in London and New York. Born into considerable wealth in Canada, Conrad Black bought and sold (but never effectively managed) several businesses, from mining and tractors to broadcasting companies and newspapers. In 1985 he bought the Telegraph group in London, where very little was known of the controversy over his past financial dealings. In 1992 he married Barbara Amiel, who later famously said, 'I have an extravagance that knows no bounds.' Besotted by his wife, he began living way beyond his means. Fabulous parties, jewellery, clothes, private jets and homes followed. In 2003 an independent report in America accused him of 'outright fraud', 'ethical corruption' and 'corporate kleptocracy' - allegations that he will vigorously deny at his trial in Chicago in 2007. Tom Bower's book, based on over 150 interviews with bankers, politicians, celebrities, power-brokers and close friends, is packed with intimate revelations. It is a hugely entertaining account of gullibility in high places.
Amiel pledged vengeance. She would, she declared, quote Bernard’s bigotry in her Telegraph column. She barely paused to consider the breach of convention. First, it was an abuse of hospitality to quote without permission a guest’s private comments expressed in her own home; and secondly, since she had not personally heard Bernard, she should have asked him to confirm his actual words. Conrad Black could have intervened to prevent his wife violating those conventions, but he did not. Although he
a Supreme Court ruling, decided that neither Rosenberg nor Healy could identify Black as ‘a liar’. Both would be warned to confine their testimony to saying that shareholders were given ‘inaccurate’ information, but the source would remain unidentified. She also ordered that Edward Shuffro’s accusation during Hollinger International’s annual shareholders’ meeting in May 2002 that Black was a thief should be removed from the tape as prejudicial. Healy was also not allowed to testify about Black’s
in British Columbia, Canada. ‘You don’t hire the top parole lawyer in BC to discuss music,’ said Greenspan. The consultation, he argued, proved that Radler had lied when he denied to the court any knowledge of his fate after the trial. Clearly surprised, Sussman replied that even if Greenspan was correct, Radler’s discussions with the lawyer were privileged, and therefore inadmissible. Judge St Eve agreed, but added that she would consider recalling Radler if Greenspan produced more evidence to
efficient and very supportive. As always, my thanks to my family, especially my mother Sylvia Bower, whose passion and encouragement inspired me in childhood. She has never stopped urging me on. Finally, acknowledgement is due to Conrad Black himself. A Life in Progress, his engaging autobiography, is the authentic voice of Black in 1993. In his present circumstances, that book is probably excessively revealing. Tom Bower, London, September 2006 ABOUT THE AUTHOR TOM BOWER has a
about the aircraft’s inadequate appearance. Over the next years, she explained, she planned to install new leather seats, two divans and an extra lavatory. ‘We’ve got to have two toilets,’ she explained, ‘because I don’t want the crew coming through our cabin to use the one at the back.’ Unfortunately, she continued, Marshall’s, the fitters, were so busy that the improvements could not be undertaken until 2000. The cost would be $3 million, including $250,000 for the second lavatory. That did not