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Former Illinois Governor Ryan leaves prison

(Reuters) - Former Illinois Governor George Ryan was transferred to home confinement on Wednesday after spending five years in federal prison, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman said.

Ryan, a Republican, was convicted in 2006 of racketeering, fraud and other offenses involving favoritism and kickbacks for state contracts and property leases. He was sentenced to 6-1/2 years in jail.

Ryan, 78, was released from a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, and reported to a halfway house in Chicago, Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross said. Shortly afterward he was put under house arrest.

"I can confirm that he has transferred to house confinement today," Ross said. He did not say where Ryan was to be confined.

Ryan's release date is July 4. House confinement calls for a prisoner to remain at his home during non-working hours, Ross said.

Ryan's successor in office, Rod Blagojevich, in March began serving a 14-year sentence at a Colorado prison on corruption charges.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Neil Stempleman and John Wallace)