LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – John Boultbee, one of four co-defendants in the fraud trial of Conrad Black, was acquitted by a federal judge Wednesday of a fraud charge related to Black’s vacation to Bora Bora in 2001, .
Black and his wife used Chicago-based Hollinger International Inc.’s private jet to fly to the South Pacific island. Federal prosecutors charge that the trip was an illegal perquisite because Black only paid for part of the $350,000 cost of the trip, which they allege had no business purpose.
About half of the cost of the trip was covered by the company.
Prosecutors alleged that Boultbee, Hollinger’s former chief financial officer, assisted Black in abusing the perk, but U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve said the evidence presented in the case “would not and could not support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt” that Boultbee defrauded Hollinger.
Boultbee’s lawyers had asked the judge to drop the charge, as well as other charges, against their client before the jury begins deliberations. Lawyers for other defendants in the case have also filed similar acquittal motions. The judge has said she will take them all “under advisement.”
Boultbee still faces several other charges related to theft of $60 million from the company through non-compete agreements.