Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Disgraced peer Conrad Black suggests return to Lords

Disgraced former media mogul Conrad Black
Conrad Black
Conrad Black kisses his wife Barbra Amiel Black as he arrives at his home in Toronto following his release from prison (AP/The Canadian Press)

Disgraced peer Conrad Black indicated he plans to resume his seat in the House of Lords, despite being a convicted fraudster.

In a fractious interview on BBC 2's Newsnight last night, Black told presenter Jeremy Paxman he was proud of being able to endure the tense exchange without "getting up and smashing your face in".

The former media mogul said he had been "persecuted half to death" over his conviction and continued to protest his innocence, insisting the charges against him were "rubbish".

Asked if he expected to retain his seat in the House of Lords, Black, who was released from a US jail earlier this year, said: "Well, why not?

"First of all there is not a prohibition on a convicted criminal sitting in that House."

Black accused Mr Paxman of being a "priggish, gullible, British fool" for taking seriously the "ghastly" American justice system.

"Let me tell you something, I am proud of having gone through the terribly difficult process of being falsely charged, falsely convicted and ultimately almost completely vindicated without losing my mind, becoming irrational, ceasing to be a penitent and reasonable person and actually being able to endure a discussion like this without getting up and smashing your face in, which is what most people would do if they had been through what I had been."

Mr Paxman said: "Well, you go ahead."

"No, I don't believe in violence," Black replied.

Black, former proprietor of the Daily Telegraph and a number of other world newspapers, was imprisoned for three years for defrauding investors.

He was raised to the peerage as Baron Black of Crossharbour in 2001.

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