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Conrad Black released from prison

Former media mogul Conrad Black has arrived at his sprawling Canadian estate just hours after being released from a US prison.

Black left a federal prison outside Miami early this morning after serving three years for defrauding investors.

Later Black and his wife Barbara Amiel were spotted kissing and roaming the grounds of Black's home in Toronto's exclusive Bridle Path neighbourhood.

Black, whose empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of London, The Jerusalem Post and small papers across the US and Canada, had returned to prison last September to finish serving his sentence.

A former member of the House of Lords, he had been sentenced to more than six years in prison after his 2007 conviction in Chicago, but had then been released on bail two years later to pursue an appeal that was partially successful. A judge reduced his sentence to three years and he returned to prison last September. With time off for good behaviour, he has completed his sentence.

Despite the fact Black renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 to accept a British peerage, the Canadian government granted his application for a one-year temporary resident permit, which allowed him to return to Canada.

Earl Cherniak, Black's Toronto-based lawyer, said Black just wants to rest.

"The man's been in prison for I don't know how long. He wants to decompress," he said. "I mean he's been in a cell with two other people and one toilet. Would you want to be out partying tonight? I don't think so."

Black's chance to quash his convictions arose in June 2010, when the US Supreme Court sharply curtailed the disputed "honest services" laws that underpinned part of the case against him.

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago threw out two of Black's fraud convictions last year, citing that landmark ruling. But it said one conviction for fraud and one for obstruction of justice were not affected by the Supreme Court's ruling. The fraud conviction, the judges concluded, involved Black and others taking 600,000 dollars (£371,000) and had nothing to do with honest services. It was, they asserted, straightforward theft.


From Belfast Telegraph