The disgraced media mogul, Conrad Black , faces a lengthy stretch in an American jail after a court convicted him of looting millions of pounds from his Hollinger media empire through a fraudulent scheme to embezzle funds from shareholders, writes Andrew Clark on

After more than 70 hours of deliberation, a Chicago jury delivered guilty verdicts on three counts of fraud and a single count of obstructing justice – although the former Telegraph owner was cleared of a further nine charges including tax evasion and racketeering.

Prosecutors are pressing for a jail term of between 15 and 20 years, although American legal analysts suggested a more likely sentence would be closer to five years. Defence lawyers said Lord Black would appeal.
Looking pale and drawn, Black stared stony-faced in front of him as judge Amy St Eve read the verdicts. The peer's three co-defendants – Jack Boultbee, Peter Atkinson and Mark Kipnis – were also found guilty of fraud.

In a highly-charged emotional scene, Black's family used a brief adjournment to hurry to his side. His wife, Barbara Amiel, put an arm around her grimacing husband, who was immaculately dressed in a cream suit and a mauve tie, while his daughter, Alana, patted him gently and offered comforting words.

The US government immediately petitioned for Black to be sent straight to prison, describing him as a "flight risk" who could flee to Canada or Britain.

Defence counsel Edward Greenspan pleaded for an extension of bail, insisting he would appear for sentencing: "His life, his past, his present and his future are all wrapped up in this case."

The judge allowed Black to remain free pending a hearing on Thursday but she ordered him to remain in Chicago and the peer was forced to hand his British passport to the court clerk before hurrying away without a word.

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