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Conrad Black (CP file photo)

Conrad Black is suing the government of the United States, alleging the Federal Bureau of Investigation improperly seized almost $9 million US of his money.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Chicago. In the document, Black said the money was taken without legal basis, and he said he requires the cash to mount a defence if he is charged with fraud at Hollinger International Inc.

Former Black associates, including his top lieutenant David Radler, have already been charged with participating in a scheme to divert more than $32 million US of "non-compete fees" from Hollinger International into their pockets and those of other managers.

Radler has entered a plea of guilty to a charge of mail fraud and could face up to 29 months behind bars. He is co-operating with prosecutors in the ongoing investigation.

Black acknowledged in the lawsuit "it is possible that a criminal indictment of [Black] is likewise imminent."

The FBI seized the money from Black last month when he was about to close the sale of his 4,500-square-foot New York City apartment. The U.S. government alleged the proceeds were part of a "fraud scheme."