Conrad Black, former media mogul, pardoned by Donald Trump

Former media baron Conrad Black is shown at the University Club in Toronto on Tuesday

US President Donald Trump has signed a full pardon for former media mogul Conrad Black, who was convicted in 2007 of fraud and obstruction of justice and spent three-and-a-half years in prison.

Black, 74, a Canadian-born British citizen, once ran an worldwide newspaper empire that included the Chicago Sun-Times, Britain's Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post.

Black, 74, spent nearly 3½ years in a Florida prison before being released and deported back to Canada.

Black, a prolific writer and historian in his own right, vehemently maintained his innocence and launched a series of libel lawsuits in Canada to strike back at the detractors he blames for destroying his once vast empire.

In its statement, the White House called him an "entrepreneur and scholar", and said he had made "tremendous contributions to business".

Mr Trump rang the 74-year-old Canadian-born British citizen to inform him of the pardon last week, with the president saying it would "expunge the bad wrap you got".

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An appeals court later overturned two of the convictions but left two in place, according to the Associated Press.

"My long ordeal with the US justice system was never anything but a confluence of unlucky events, the belligerence of several corporate governance charlatans, and grandstanding local and American judges, all fanned by an unusually frenzied global media showing exceptional interest in the case because I was a media owner", he wrote. "This impressive list includes former Secretary of State Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Sir Elton John, Rush Limbaugh, the late William F. Buckley, Jr., and many additional notable individuals". "W$3 hat an honor to read your piece", Trump wrote.

Last year, Trump granted a full pardon to Dinesh D'Souza, a conservative author and firebrand. Black had not applied for a pardon from Trump and did not wish to discuss the matter, the magazine Maclean's reported.

Critics have accused Mr Trump of using his powers of pardon to address what he believes are political wrongs.

Previous year he issued a pardon to conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza, who was convicted in 2014 of violating campaign finance laws.

The pair have previously described each other as friends, with Mr Trump calling Lord Black "one of the truly great intellects and my friend" and said he "won't forget" after the publication of an article in the National Enquirer - titled Trump Is The Good Guy - about his campaign. Its headline: "Smooth Sailing Ahead for Trump".

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