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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 22:17 GMT
Black given six-and-a-half years
Conrad Black and his wife Barbara Amiel arrive in court
Conrad Black is appealing against his convictions

Former media tycoon Conrad Black has been jailed for six-and-a-half years by a Chicago court after stealing millions of dollars from shareholders.

He has been told to report to prison in 12 weeks, but will remain free until then on payment of $21m (10.3m) bail.

The 63-year-old was also fined $125,000 (61,000) by the court, but professes his innocence and plans to appeal.

Ex-Daily Telegraph owner Black - a UK peer - was convicted of three counts of fraud another of obstructing justice.

Government prosecutors had called for a prison term of between 16 and 24 years.

Those demands were not met, and the eventual sentence was at the lower end of guidelines outlined by the judge, Amy St Eve.

Black will also have to forfeit $6.1m, which is the amount that a pre-sentencing report sent to the judge calculated had been stolen from shareholders of Hollinger International.

"Frankly I cannot understand how someone of your stature, on top of a media empire, could commit such acts," the judge said.

She will recommend that he should 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.

Tax-free bonuses

Together with his business associates, Black was convicted of stealing millions of dollars from shareholders of Hollinger International, of which he was chairman.

They were found to have paid themselves tax-free bonuses from the sale of newspaper assets without the approval of the company's board.

Conrad Black arriving for sentencing

In addition, Black was convicted on one count of obstructing justice, after being recorded on tape removing documents from his office in Toronto after US regulators had informed him he was under investigation.

In interviews before sentencing Black had shown little remorse, but in court he told the judge that he wanted to "express very profound regret and sadness" to Hollinger shareholders.

Under Black's leadership, Hollinger acquired the Daily Telegraph in London, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Jerusalem Post.

If the judge had accepted more of the prosecution's assertions about the size of the fraud and Black's role in it then he could have faced as many as 35 years in prison.

"It's a lenient sentence - the judge was clearly very tolerant of his remorseless tirades," Black's biographer Tom Bower told BBC News.

Background to Conrad Black's fall from grace

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