Conrad Black to be released from US prison this week

Added by on April 29, 2012

Deposed media mogul Conrad Black was expected to be freed this week after serving little over half his 13-month sentence in a Miami prison for fraud and obstruction of justice.

“Mr. Black is scheduled to be released on May 5, but since its Saturday typically on cases like this he will probably be released the day before, on Friday,” said a spokesman of Federal Bureau of Prisons, Chris Burke.

Black, 67, has spent recent years defending himself in US courts and busying himself launching libel lawsuits in Canada.

He was forced out of the global media empire he’d 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 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 his case was reexamined by the courts

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.

The flamboyant newspaper baron and British Lord — who once counted politicians and pop stars among his entourage — used to run the world’s third largest media empire, with flagship titles that included Britain’s The Daily Telegraph, the Chicago Sun-Times, Canada’s National Post, the Jerusalem Post and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He has launched several lawsuits in Ontario courts starting in 2004 over comments made on Hollinger International’s US website and in press releases about alleged fraud.

He reported back to US prison in September last year, where he received credit for time already served, as his memoirs professing innocence hit bookshelves.

In “A Matter of Principle,” Black hit out at a justice system he was convinced failed him and insisted he would “never ask for mercy and seek no one’s sympathy.”