Conrad Black coming back to Canada 0
Conrad Black and his wife Barbara Amiel leave federal court in Chicago, June 24, 2011. (Reuters files)
Convicted fraudster Conrad Black isn't just coming back to Canada - he could even re-gain the Canadian citizenship he renounced in 2001.
The British citizen and former media mogul is set for release from a Florida prison, and has been granted a one-year temporary resident permit (TPR) to come to Canada, QMI Agency has learned.
It didn't take long for the issue to get political - and heated - in Parliament.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair accused the Conservatives of racism by accepting Black while denying entry to Gary Freeman, who shot an American police officer in 1969, fled to Canada and lived in Toronto for three decades before police caught up to him.
"It's a clear case of a double-standard - one for an American black man from Chicago, another for a British white man coming out of federal penitentiary," Mulcair said.
The Conservative benches erupted with cries of "Shame on you!" in response.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he kept himself at arm's length from the decision on Black, even telling civil servants in February to handle the case without ministerial input.
"I wanted to be clear with officials that if there was an application from this individual for a temporary resident permit it should be considered exclusively by department officials," said Kenney.
Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland says the permit that allows Black to be in Canada until May 2013 is his "golden ticket" if he renews it twice and gains permanent resident status.
"He can then leapfrog to citizenship," said Kurland.
Alternatively, Kurland says Montreal-born Black can apply to "restore his Canadian citizenship" by arguing he "made a mistake" in giving it up and has been law-abiding since coming back.
Black, along with other executives, was accused of fraud and other charges for allegedly stealing $60 million from Hollinger International investors.
He was convicted of two counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice in July 2007, and was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison.
The U.S. Supreme court set aside Black's conviction in July 2010, but later upheld his conviction on one count of fraud and obstruction of justice.
Black began serving time in Florida in March 2008.
Conrad Black's trial in Chicago - timeline
Aug. 2005 - Black, his partner David Radler, three other executives and the Ravelston Corp holding company are accused of fraud and other charges in a Chicago grand jury indictment.
2007 - Black's trial begins in Chicago. He faces 13 counts of fraud, racketeering, tax evasion, money-laundering and obstruction of justice for allegedly stealing $60 million from Hollinger International investors.
July 13, 2007 - Judge Amy St. Eve finds Black guilty of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.
Dec. 2007 - St. Eve sentences Black to 6 1/2 years in prison. As part of his sentence, he is to pay Hollinger $6.1 million and is fined $125,000 US.
March 2008 - Black heads to prison to begin serving his sentence and becomes inmate 18330-424.
June 24, 2010 - The U.S. Supreme Court sets aside Black's convictions, and those of his two ex-colleagues. The judges send the case back to an appeals court in Chicago for further proceedings.
July 19, 2010 - An appeals court orders Black released from prison pending the outcome of his appeal. He's released from prison on a $2-million bond two days later. As a condition of his freedom, he must remain in the U.S.
Dec. 17, 2010 - The federal appeals court in Chicago denies a request by Black's lawyer to have his case heard again by the full court. Black's lawyer says he'll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
May 31, 2011 - The U.S. Supreme Court upholds Black's 2007 conviction on one count of fraud and one count of obstructing justice and sends the case back to the lower courts for a re-sentencing.
June 24, 2011 - A judge sentences Black to 42 months in prison and a $125,000 US fine for his remaining count of mail fraud. The sentence comes on top of the 29 months he had already served at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex near Orlando, Fla.
Sept. 2011 - Black's memoir, A Matter of Principle, which chronicles his Chicago trial and conviction, is released.
Sept. 6, 2011 - Black returns to prison to finish serving his sentence at the federal correctional institution in Miami.
May 4 or 5, 2012 - He faced 13 charges and was ultimately convicted only of two. Black is to be released from prison.