Tycoon Conrad Black is released from jail on $2m bail

Conrad Black arrives home to his mansion in Palm Beach

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Canadian-born tycoon Conrad Black has been freed from a Florida prison on bail, pending an appeal over fraud convictions.

Black, a British peer, was released on a $2m (£1.3m) bond more than two years into a six-and-a-half year term.

The newspaper mogul will appear in a Chicago court on Friday to hear his bail conditions.

In 2007 Black and three other Hollinger International executives were convicted of defrauding shareholders of $6.1m.

As part of his bail conditions Black is not allowed to leave the US.

After leaving the minimum security prison in Coleman, where he was being held, Black was driven to his mansion at Palm Beach.

CONRAD BLACK

  • 1944 - Born in Montreal, Canada
  • 1966 - Buys first newspaper, the Eastern Townships Advertiser in Quebec
  • 2001 - Ennobled as Lord Black of Crossharbour after giving up his Canadian citizenship
  • November 2005 - Charged in the US along with three associates with 11 counts of fraud, one of obstruction of justice, and one of racketeering
  • July 2007 - Found guilty of three counts of criminal fraud and obstruction of justice, but cleared of racketeering and wire fraud
  • December 2007 - Sentenced to 78 months in jail, fined $125,000 and ordered to forfeit $6.1m
  • March 2008 - Begins serving sentence in low-security prison in Florida
  • June 2010 - US Supreme Court weakens "honest services" law central to fraud conviction
  • July 2010 - Released on bail by US appeals court

Black and the other convicted executives were found to have paid themselves tax-free bonuses from the sale of newspaper assets without the approval of the company's board.

In addition, Black was convicted on one count of obstructing justice, after being recorded on videotape removing documents from his office in Toronto after US regulators had informed him he was under investigation.

He has always denied any wrongdoing.

Black's release was preceded by a Supreme Court ruling on one of the laws used to convict him. It said the three counts of fraud were based on a vague piece of US law that was interpreted too broadly by the prosecution.

Under Black's leadership, Hollinger became one of the largest media companies in the world, acquiring the Chicago Sun-Times, the UK's Daily Telegraph, the Jerusalem Post and hundreds of community papers in the US and Canada.

Black, born in 1944 in Montreal, renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 so he could become a member of the UK's House of Lords.

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