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CHICAGO � U.S. and Canadian lawyers are taking center stage this week in the trial of media mogul and former Hollinger International Inc. Chairman Conrad Black, who is being prosecuted in Chicago with three other former Hollinger executives on charges that they stole $84 million from the company in a fraud that cheated public shareholders. Cravath, Swaine & Moore attorneys William “Bud” Rogers, who is based in London, and Paul Saunders in New York; Canadian attorney Darren Sukonick, who is with Torys in Toronto; and former Torys attorney Beth DeMerchant, who has retired, are slated to give testimony as government witnesses this week regarding their roles as outside counsel to Hollinger. They are expected to testify about agreements that federal prosecutors say were at the heart of the former executives’ scheme to divert money when the company sold newspaper assets in the 1990s. Cravath lawyers discovered discrepancies in the company’s public disclosure of certain payments related to Hollinger’s sale of newspapers when they were reviewing documents as part of a separate financing transaction, according to a 2004 report by a special company committee set up to investigate possible wrong-doing. Torys, which was counsel to both Hollinger and Ravelston Corp., a separate company controlled by Black and involved in the case, reached a 2005 settlement with Hollinger regarding its work on the transactions for Hollinger without admitting any wrong-doing. Testimony from Sukonick and DeMerchant was recorded earlier this year in Canada and is being replayed for the trial after they exercised their right as Canadian citizens not to appear in the U.S. courtroom. On Monday, the cross-examination of Sukonick finished up and Rogers took the stand.

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