Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Berlusconi four-year tax-fraud conviction upheld

English
© ANSA

Rome, August 1 - Italy's supreme Court of Cassation
upheld a tax-fraud conviction against ex-premier Silvio
Berlusconi Thursday, making a four-year prison sentence
definitive.
It is the first time Berlusconi has received a definitive
conviction after over two dozen criminal cases since the media
magnate embarked on a political career two decades ago.
Three years of the sentence are not effective because of a
2006 amnesty.
As Berlusconi is over 70, he will probably not have to
serve the remaining year in prison, but will be given social
work or house arrest as punishment
The court suspended a five-year ban on Berlusconi holding
public office, sending this part of the punishment back to the
Milan appeals court for review.
State prosecutors have requested be reduced to three years
earlier this week.
The ruling may have consequences for Premier Enrico Letta's
fragile left-right government, which needs the support of
Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party to
survive.
Some PdL lawmakers had threatened the party would pull its
backing and sink the government if the sentence was not
overturned, saying their leader is the victim of persecution by
left-wing magistrates targeting him for political reasons.
There have also been threats that they would quit en masse
and that eventual protests would include road blocks on
motorways.
Berlusconi has said his legal problems and the government
are separate issues.
The decision was announced after the five Cassation judges
huddled for consultations for over six hours over the case.
The three-time Italian premier has been found guilty of
masterminding a system of inflated film-rights purchases at his
Mediaset media empire and the use of offshore companies to
create slush funds.
This enabled Mediaset to dodge taxes on around seven
million euros in 2002 and 2003.
Berlusconi has said he had nothing to do with these
dealings or authorising them as he was too occupied with
political matters. He was premier at the time.

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