Conrad Black planning to reside in Canada: report

Added by on May 1, 2012

Ottawa has granted media mogul Conrad Black permission to reside in Canada after his release from prison, even though he relinquished his citizenship more than a decade ago, a report said Tuesday.

Black is expected to be freed on Friday, after serving a little over half of his 13-month sentence in a Miami prison for fraud and obstruction of justice.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported that Canada’s Department of Citizenship and Immigration has authorized a one-year temporary resident permit for Black that is valid from early May.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said Black paid a $200 fee for a temporary resident permit on March 20, 2012.

Black, 67, was forced out of the global media empire he had built out of his Toronto offices in 2003 after shareholders accused him of engaging in a $500 million “corporate kleptocracy.”

US prosecutors charged Black and his associates with skimming some $60 million from his global newspaper empire between 1999 and 2001.

They were ultimately convicted of stealing $6.1 million by awarding themselves tax-free bonuses from newspaper sell-offs without the approval of the board of the Hollinger holding company.

He had served 29 months of a 78-month sentence when the US Supreme Court tossed out the “honest services” law that had formed the basis of his 2007 conviction, and was released in 2010 while the courts reexamined his case.

He succeeded in shedding two more counts for which he was originally convicted. That brought the total fraud down to $600,000, of which Black received less than half.

But in June 2011, he was ordered back to prison for another 13 months on the two remaining counts.

The flamboyant newspaper baron used to run the world’s third largest media empire, with flagship titles that included the Chicago Sun-Times, Canada’s National Post, the Jerusalem Post and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 after a spat with then prime minister Jean Chretien who protested his peerage to Britain’s House of Lords as interference in Canadian affairs.

Black sued the prime minister unsuccessfully, arguing that Chretien’s refusal to allow a foreign state to honor a Canadian citizen was payback for his political opinions and past criticism of Chretien.