Donald Trump has pardoned ex-media mogul and convicted fraudster Conrad Black just a year after he penned a flattering biography of the US President.
Black, the former owner of the Daily Telegraph, served three-and-a-half years in prison in the US for plotting to embezzle millions of dollars from his newspaper empire.
But the Trump administration has granted the Canadian-born British citizen full clemency, saying he had made “tremendous contributions to business”.
“Lord Black’s case has attracted broad support from many high-profile individuals who have vigorously vouched for his exceptional character,” the White House said in a statement announcing the pardon.
“In light of these facts, Mr Black is entirely deserving of this grant of executive clemency.”
The White House cited Black’s work as a published author and said the disgraced media tycoon had served as a tutor while in prison.
Last year Black published a book praising the US president, who he has described as a friend, entitled Donald J Trump: A President Like No Other.
Writing about his pardon in Canadian newspaper the National Post, Black said he had received a personal phone call from Trump. “He could not have been more gracious and quickly got to his point,” Black wrote.
He described the American criminal justice system as “frequently and largely evil”, insisting his conviction was “never anything but a smear job”.
Black was found guilty in 2007 of plotting to siphon off millions of dollars from the sale of newspapers owned by Hollinger Inc, where he was chairman and chief executive.
Two of his three convictions were later voided and his sentence shortened. Black was released from a Florida prison in May 2012 and deported from the US.
Black has been banned from acting as a director of a US company and cannot hold executive positions at listed Canadian companies or investment funds.