Former Hollinger International Inc. chief financial officer John Boultbee has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges, according to published reports.
Judge Amy St. Eve of the U.S. District Court in Chicago ordered Boultbee, who lives in Vancouver, to post a $1.5 million cash bond and to restrict his travel to the United States and Canada. Boultbee waived his right to contest any future extradition from Canada. As a further condition of his release, he promised to transfer ownership of a rifle that has been in his family for generations to his son.
Last week the former finance executive missed a scheduled court appearance; today, defense attorney Patrick Tuite told reporters that Boultbee failed to show because he was moving. “There was no hiding or disrespect for the government, and they understood that,” Tuite said, according to the Associated Press.
Boultbee, former media baron Conrad Black, and other executives are accused of participating in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from Chicago-based Hollinger. Boultbee faces eight counts of fraud, each of which carries a possible penalty of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine, according to the Canadian Press.
Prosecutor Robert Kent said that additional charges could be filed by next week, the wire service noted, but he did not identify against whom the new charges might be filed. Boultbee, Black, and the other defendants were ordered to appear at a status hearing on December 16, according to Reuters.
The Canadian Press also reported that two years ago, Boultbee filed a wrongful-dismissal suit after being fired for refusing to return payments that allegedly weren’t properly approved or disclosed by Hollinger.