OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will allow former newspaper mogul Conrad Black to live in the country after he finishes his U.S. prison sentence even though he is no longer a Canadian citizen, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Canadian-born Black, a member of Britain’s House of Lords currently serving a sentence in Florida for fraud and obstruction of justice, is expected to be released later this week.
Canada’s Department of Citizenship and Immigration granted him a one-year temporary resident permit, on the grounds that he poses no threat to the Canadian public, a source familiar with the matter told the newspaper.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, asked about Black in Parliament, said it was a private matter about which he could not comment. But he said he had given instructions that public servants would decide on Black’s application independently of any input from him or his office.
Thomas Mulcair, leader of the leftist opposition New Democratic Party, said the government was operating under a double standard in allowing “the British criminal Conrad Black” into the country while keeping other people out.
A U.S. jury found Black guilty of scheming with partner David Radler and other executives to siphon off millions of dollars in proceeds from the sales of newspapers as they unwound U.S.-based Hollinger International, once the world’s third-largest publisher of English-language newspapers.
Hollinger operated the Chicago Sun-Times, the Jerusalem Post, London’s Daily Telegraph and dozens of other newspapers across North America.
Black was released from prison in July 2010 while his case was under appeal, which resulted in two of his three fraud convictions being voided and a shortening of his original 78-month sentence. After the appeal, he returned to prison in September 2011.
Black gave up his Canadian citizenship in order to be able to enter Britain’s House of Lords, and therefore does not have an automatic right to live in Canada. Criminality can render a person inadmissible to Canada without a special permit.
A spokesman for Black declined to comment on the Globe report.
Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Frank McGurty