Conrad Black fraud conviction is upheld

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The Independent US

Conrad Black, the former proprietor of The Daily Telegraph, has lost his appeal against convictions for fraud and obstructing the course of justice. The disgraced peer is serving six-and-a-half years after he was convicted 12 months ago of defrauding investors in his media empire, Hollinger International.

The evidence showed that Black engaged in "a conventional fraud", an appeals court in Chicago ruled yesterday. Black siphoned off $6.1m (£3m) by inserting bogus clauses into deals to sell Hollinger's regional newspapers.

Claims by Black that the clauses were legitimate were "ridiculous" and "preposterous", the judges ruled. The also decided there was evidence to support the obstruction of justice verdict against the Canadian-born peer. The court upheld the fraud convictions of three of Black's associates, Peter Atkinson, Jack Boultbee and Mark Kipnis. David Radler, Black's business partner, pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud and testified for the prosecution.

Black's ownership of the Telegraph won him the keys to the British establishment and a seat in the Lords, but prosecutors argued that his lavish lifestyle was funded by his fraudulent earnings.

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