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'Cheriegate' conman Peter Foster released from prison in Australia

A man who promoted fake weight-loss products and was captured after a year on the run was granted an early release from an Australian prison, after serving one year behind bars.

The Federal Court in Brisbane approved Peter Foster's bid for an early release from his 18-month prison sentence. Justice John Logan warned him to stay out of trouble until his full sentence has expired, the Associated Press reported.

Foster, 53, was convicted last year of assaulting police and resisting arrest when officers found him hiding out near the resort town of Byron Bay, 500 miles north of Sydney, after spending a year on the run.

Foster, who came to public prominence in the UK with his previous dealings with Cherie Blair, vanished in 2013 after failing to show up at a sentencing hearing.

That sentence related to his conviction for flouting a court ban in 2005 on participating in the weight-loss industry.

The judge last year did not impose a sentence on him for the convictions related to his arrest, ordering him instead to serve out his earlier sentence for promoting a mouth spray that was falsely marketed as a weight-loss product.

Asked what his plans are now that he is a free man, Foster replied that it was "a bit early in the day for a lap dance".

"So I think I'll just go home to my mum and make a cup of tea, hold her hand and tell her I'm sorry for the last 12 months," he said.

Foster also became the subject of controversy in Britain when he helped Mrs Blair, wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, buy two reduced-price apartments in Bristol in 2002.

The scandal dubbed "Cheriegate" prompted Mrs Blair to make a public apology.

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