Conrad Black, who is set to appear in a Chicago courtroom on Friday, spoke publicly for the first time since being released from prison, telling CBC News he hopes a judge will allow him to return to Canada.
"I hope that we'll get an agreement for me to go back to Canada," the Canadian-born Black told the CBC's David Common exclusively as he arrived Thursday at a Miami airport to depart for Chicago.
"Apart from that, it should be pretty straightforward."
Black has a gated estate in the exclusive Bridle Path area of Toronto.
Asked whether he had evolved during his time in jail, the former media baron said: "I'm not getting into that now. No doubt I have but I'm not getting into it now."
Black, wearing tan pants and a blue blazer over a peach golf shirt, was accompanied by his wife Barbara Amiel.
Later, Black, arriving with lots of luggage at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, told the CBC's Amanda Lang he was feeling good and looked forward to the hearing. But he said even if given permission, he may not leave for Canada on Friday.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve has requested Black appear at a hearing at 12:30 p.m. CT in her Chicago courtroom, where he will learn the terms of his release and whether he'll be allowed to leave the U.S.
But getting permission to return to Canada may be a challenge since Black has been convicted of an indictable offence and is no longer a Canadian citizen.
He may need to obtain a special minister's permit from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to return to Canada, but Black told CBC News he doesn't believe he requires one.
Kenney would not comment on the issue.
"I can't comment on any individual case because of the Privacy Act," Kenney said in an interview. "Nor can I comment on a hypothetical situation.
"Every case is assessed by public servants against the law, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act."
Black renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 after then prime minister Jean Chrétien stopped him from taking a seat in Britain's House of Lords. Black accepted the seat after giving up his Canadian citizenship.
Earlier Thursday, Black left the Palm Beach, Fla., mansion where he spent his first night after being released from prison Wednesday on a $2 million US bond.
Lawyers for Black argued Wednesday in favour of their client being allowed to return to Canada.
The request was rejected, as prosecutors took issue with his need to leave the United States for now.
Black's British passport has expired, and St. Eve has said he should not be granted a new passport unless it is his sole piece of identification. She wants to see a financial affidavit for Black before ruling whether he's allowed to leave the U.S.
The judge also said she will apply additional conditions on Black if she deems them appropriate. St. Eve was the same judge who sentenced him in 2007 on fraud and obstruction of justice charges and originally sentenced him to 6½ years in prison.
In 2007, Black was convicted of absconding with $6 million while he was in charge of defunct media conglomerate Hollinger International Inc.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court set aside the three fraud convictions on the grounds the "honest services" law he was convicted under was inappropriate and over-reaching in his case.
Prosecutors in Chicago must now decide whether to retry him.
Even if prosecutors decide not to retry the case, Black's legal woes won't be over. The Internal Revenue Service is pursuing Black for $71 million US in unpaid back taxes, a claim he rejects.