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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Conrad Black faces possible return to jail

Conrad Black faces possible return to jail

A US appeals court has upheld fraud and obstruction of justice convictions against Conrad Black, the disgraced media mogul and Conservative peer, who now faces the possibility of a return to prison, three months after being released on bail.

Two other fraud convictions were quashed, in the light of a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year which forced the re-examination of his case.

The former Daily Telegraph proprietor lost it all after outside investors accused him of running a "corporate kleptocracy" in which he and his business partners enriched themselves at shareholders' expense. He was convicted in July 2007 on three counts of fraud and one charge of obstructing justice. CCTV footage recorded Black loading 13 boxes of documents into the back of his chauffeur-driven limousine, after the federal investigation into his affairs had begun. He was released after serving a little over two years of his six-and-a-half year term in a Florida prison, and will now have to be resentenced on the remaining two convictions.

An appeals court in Chicago, where his business used to be headquartered, decided that the Supreme Court ruling made no difference to the obstruction of justice charge, but it did overturn two fraud convictions. That decision dramatically reduces the monetary value of the fraud that Black and three fellow defendants were found to have perpetrated, from $6.1m to just $600,000.

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