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Fraudster Black is freed on $2m bail

Former media tycoon Conrad Black was a free man today after being released from a US jail on $2m bail.

Black walked free from the minimum security prison in Coleman, Florida, last night after serving two years and four months of a six-and-a-half-year sentence for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars.

Setting his bail conditions during a hearing at a Chicago court yesterday, District Judge Amy St Eve ordered Black not to leave the country.

She said the former owner of the Daily Telegraph must attend her court tomorrow to hear further conditions of his release.

Black was freed after businessman and friend Roger Hertog posted the f1.5m bail.

His lawyers asked that he be allowed to return to Canada, where he owns a home in Toronto.

But the judge said he must remain in the US and ordered that he must not try to obtain a passport.

Black's lawyer, Miguel Estrada, said his client did not have a passport but had been issued with an ID by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

He said Black was likely to return to his home in Palm Beach, Florida, after his release from prison. The 65-year-old peer was granted bail on Monday by the Court of Appeals, pending an appeal against his conviction for fraud and obstruction of justice.

The decision came after a US Supreme Court ruling weakened the "honest services" law which was central to the case brought by prosecutors.

It will now be left to a lower court to decide whether his conviction should be overturned.

The former head of the Hollinger International media empire was convicted with three other former executives of defrauding shareholders out of $6.1m (f4.7m).


He was also convicted of obstruction of justice after he was seen carrying boxes of documents out of his offices, loading them into his car and driving away. The documents were sought by US government investigators.

Hollinger International once owned the Daily Telegraph, Chicago Sun-Times, Jerusalem Post and hundreds of community papers in the US and Canada.

Black renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a member of the British House of Lords and was known for a grand lifestyle.