US court grants bail to Conrad Black

20th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Disgraced media mogul Conrad Black was granted bail Monday by a US court as he appeals a six-and-a-half year jail term imposed in 2007 after he was convicted of defrauding shareholders.

"Appellant Conrad M. Black is granted bail pending the disposition of his appeal in this court," the court order said.

It came after a US Supreme Court ruling last month opened the way for Black to challenge his conviction for carrying out a multi-million-dollar fraud.

Black, who began serving his sentence in March 2008, was charged with raiding the coffers of his once mighty newspaper empire, Hollinger, and trying to cover up his crime.

But opening the way for Black's appeal and release from jail, the Supreme Court ruled that a 1998 law which allowed corporate bosses to be prosecuted for depriving shareholders of "honest services" had been too broadly interpreted.

The clause was a favorite tool for white-collar crime prosecutors precisely because of its broad language, but the highest US court ruled it could only be narrowly applied to cases involving bribery or kickbacks.

Black once ran the world's third largest media empire with such titles in his stable as Britain's Daily Telegraph and the Chicago Sun-Times.

© 2010 AFP

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