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(Chicago Sun Times) — An examiner probing Sam Zell’s buyout of the Tribune Co. in late 2007 has found evidence of “dishonesty” in the deal’s latter stages, a conclusion that could throw the company’s 20-month-old bankruptcy case into turmoil.

Kenneth Klee, appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to review the Tribune deal, said in a report submitted late today that fraud may have occurred in late 2007. That’s when the Chicago-based Tribune finalized $3.6 billion in financing to complete the $8.2 billion acquisition that came overwhelmingly from debt.

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