There is little surprise that Conrad Black returned to London this week to pursue his resurrection. Black passionately wants to get back to business and restore his social status. Sentenced in Chicago in 2007 to six-and-a-half years imprisonment for fraud and obstruction of justice, Black earned early remission from a Florida jail for good conduct and returned at the beginning of this year to his only remaining home in Toronto – he previously had four. Now he yearns to resume his life in London – not least because Canadians have shown loathing for the man who churlishly gave up his Canadian citizenship to accept a British peerage, and most are outraged that a British crook should be allowed to resume life in his Toronto mansion.
Now it is up to the British to decide whether they will accept Black's return to the London stage.
During his tour of London's television studios – most notably in confrontations with Jeremy Paxman and Adam Boulton – Black spewed out a long-rehearsed monologue to dazzle his countrymen with professions of victimhood and demands for resurrection as a social giant fit to vote in the House of Lords and take tea in Buckingham Palace. In his carefully contrived redemptive plea, he spawns a tale of being the innocent victim of the US justice system.
Understandably, his carpet-bombing of TV interviewers with obscure arguments confounds the public who are ignorant about the intricacies of his trial and his subsequent appeals. The facts, however, are incontestable. Black's frauds were discovered by the shareholders of Hollinger, the owner of the Telegraph group. "You're a thief," one shareholder yelled during the company's annual meeting in 2001. Eventually, all his fellow directors realised that Black had lied to them about Hollinger's accounts and he had taken about $200m from the company. The US government prosecuted on 14 charges.