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Conrad Black stepped aside Tuesday as chairman and chief executive of Hollinger Inc., the Toronto-based holding company that has voting control over newspaper publisher Hollinger International.

The resignation came just as a Toronto court was scheduled to hear a shareholder demand for Black's resignation. Black has announced his intention to buy out the minority investors and take Hollinger Inc. private.

The main asset of the company is its 18 percent equity interest and 68 percent voting control of Chicago-based Hollinger International, which recently sold The Daily Telegraph of London for $1.2 billion. The company's holdings still include the Chicago Sun-Times and The Jerusalem Post.

Black said Friday he would resign to clear the way for the proposed buyout.

Black's decision to leave Hollinger Inc. came as Catalyst Fund General Partner I, a recent investor in Hollinger Inc., sought to have him and several others removed by an Ontario judge.

Black has already been ousted as chairman and chief executive at Hollinger International, after an internal investigation said he and others looted the company of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Black faces court cases and regulatory investigations in Canada and the United States stemming from the Hollinger accounting controversy.

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