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Conrad Black enjoys first taste of freedom

Former media tycoon Conrad Black is a free man after being released from a US jail on two million dollars' bail (£1.3bn).

Black walked free from the minimum security prison in Coleman, Florida, after serving two years and four months of a six-and-a-half-year sentence for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars.

Setting his bail conditions during a hearing at a Chicago court, District Judge Amy St Eve ordered Black not to leave the country.

She said the former owner of the Daily Telegraph must attend her court on Friday to hear further conditions of his release.

Black, 65, was freed after businessman and friend Roger Hertog posted the £1.3 million bail.

His lawyers asked that he be allowed to return to Canada, where he owns a home in Toronto. But the judge said he must remain in the US and ordered that he must not try to obtain a passport.

Black's lawyer, Miguel Estrada, said his client did not have a passport but had been issued with an ID by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The former head of the Hollinger International media empire was convicted with three other former executives of defrauding shareholders out of 6.1 million US dollars (£4 million).

He was also convicted of obstruction of justice after he was seen carrying boxes of documents out of his offices, loading them into his car and driving away. The documents were sought by US government investigators.

Hollinger International once owned the Daily Telegraph, Chicago Sun-Times, Jerusalem Post and hundreds of community papers in the US and Canada. Black renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a member of the British House of Lords and was known for a grand lifestyle.


From Belfast Telegraph