On Jan. 13, 2011, the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed all charges against Mark Kipnis, former general counsel of media conglomerate Hollinger International (Hollinger). Kipnis had been charged, in a 2005 indictment, with participating in a $60 million fraud, directed by Lord Conrad Black, the chairman and a controlling shareholder, of Hollinger. Sadly, this complete vindication of Kipnis came at an enormous personal cost over the course of eight years. During that period of time, he was either under investigation, indictment or convicted of a fraud which, even according to prosecutors, enriched Black and others but not Kipnis.
In June 2003, in response to allegations of fiduciary duty violations, the Board of Directors of Hollinger formed a Special Committee to investigate and issue a report about those violations. Kipnis cooperated with the Special Committee, meeting with members of the committee on several occasions, sometimes without counsel. More than a year later, in August 2004, the Special Committee issued a 513-page report, concluding that Hollinger's former CEO Conrad M. Black and its former COO F. David Radler transferred more than $400 million to themselves and their affiliates. The report did not allege that any portion of that $400 million was diverted to Kipnis.