Media tycoon CONRAD BLACK has been jailed for six-and-a-half years by a U.S. court after stealing millions of dollars from shareholders. The shamed 63-year-old - convicted of embezzling $6 million (GBP3 million) from Hollinger Inc. shareholders earlier this year (13Jul07) - has been told to report to prison in 12 weeks, but will remain free until then on payment of $21 million (GBP10.5 million) bail. He was also fined $125,000 (GBP62,500) by the Chicago court on Monday (10Dec07), but professes his innocence and plans to appeal. The former owner of British broadsheet The Daily Telegraph and a U.K. peer was convicted of three counts of fraud and another of obstructing justice. Government prosecutors had called for a prison term of between 16 and 24 years, but the eventual sentence was at the lower end of guidelines outlined by the judge, Amy St Eve. Black will also have to forfeit $6.1 million (GBP3.05 million), which is the amount that a pre-sentencing report sent to the judge calculated had been stolen from shareholders of Hollinger International. The judge said, "Frankly I cannot understand how someone of your stature, on top of a media empire, could commit such acts." Black is expected to serve his sentence at a federal prison camp near Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. His lawyers say they will apply for a court order allowing him to remain free until his appeal has been heard.
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