The former owner of the Daily Telegraph and Jerusalem Post has been pardoned by Donald Trump, after lobbying by former diplomat Henry Kissinger.
Conrad Black, a Canadian-born British peer who was convicted of fraud and jailed, appears to have won his pardon through flattery, after writing a book about Trump in which he lavished praise on the US president.
Black’s media empire once included The Spectator and the Chicago Sun-Times, but dissolved after he was convicted of siphoning millions of dollars from shareholders following the sale of some news titles.
A jury in Chicago convicted him in 2007 and he served 3.5 years in prison in Florida, before being released and deported in 2012.
Following Black’s fawning book, titled ‘Donald J Trump: A President Like No Other,’ Trump hailed the former publisher as “the great Lord Black”.
The White House later said the pardon – for wire fraud and obstruction of justice – was because of Black’s “tremendous contributions to business, as well as to political and historical thought”.
Trump’s press secretary said the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, himself a former director of Black’s company Hollinger International, “vouched for Black’s exceptional character,” as did conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh and British singer Elton John.
Black and Trump had had business dealings before the 2007 trial, at which Trump offered to provide a character witness. The pair had been trying to work together to develop a skyscraper in Chicago.
Writing in National Post this week, Black said his dealings with the “evil” US justice system were “a confluence of unlucky events”.