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Berlesconi Sentenced to Four Years in Jail

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Berlesconi Sentenced to Four Years in Jail

Post  Panda on Fri 26 Oct - 18:40

Berlusconi Sentenced To Four Years In Jail

The former Italian leader is barred from holding political office as he is sentenced to prison for tax fraud.

5:45pm UK, Friday 26 October 2012

Video: Berlusconi: Years Of Allegations

Silvio Berlusconi has lost his "Teflon shield" after being sentenced to four years in jail, says Newsweek's Barbie Latza-Nadeau.

Video: Berlusconi Sentence Is 'Shocking'

  • Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud connected to his television channels.

    An Italian court delivered the verdict against the ex-leader and 10 others in a six-year-old tax fraud trial.

    The 76-year-old was also barred from holding political office for five years.

    In Italy, cases must pass two levels of appeal before the verdicts are final. Berlusconi is expected to appeal and is unlikely to go to prison due to his age, the lengthy appeals process and statute of limitations.

    If he goes to prison he will only serve one year due to a 2006 amnesty law aimed at reducing prison overcrowding.

    The verdict comes two days after Berlusconi announced he will not run for premier in upcoming elections.

    During the trial, prosecutors alleged the defendants were behind a scheme to purchase the rights to broadcast US movies on Berlusconi's private Mediaset television networks through a series of offshore companies and had falsely declared the payments to avoid taxes.

    Prosecutors further alleged they inflated the price for the TV rights of some 3,000 films as they re-licensed them internally to Berlusconi's networks, pocketing the difference amounting to around €250m (£200m).

    Other charges of false accounting and false statements in financial reports were thrown out because the statute of limitations expired.

    The court sentenced Berlusconi and his co-defendants to pay €10m (£8m) to Italian tax authorities, a statement said.

    The trial began in July 2006, but was put on hold by a now-defunct immunity law that shielded Berlusconi from prosecution while he was premier until it was watered down by the constitutional court.

    The trial also faced delays as Berlusconi cited conflicts with his schedule as premier.

    Berlusconi has been tried numerous times for his business dealings. He has always denied wrongdoing and alleged that the cases were politically motivated.

    In each case to date, he has been cleared or seen the statute of limitations expire. The statute of limitations in this case is set to expire sometime next year.

    Berlusconi also is on trial in Milan on charges of paying for sex with a prostitute and trying to cover it up.

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Re: Berlesconi Sentenced to Four Years in Jail

Post  Panda on Sat 27 Oct - 17:10

27 October 2012 Last updated at 16:22
Berlusconi 'obliged' to stay in Italian politics
Earlier this week Mr Berlusconi said he would not run for office again
Continue reading the main story
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  • 'Political obituary' in Italian press
  • Q&A: Silvio Berlusconi on trial
  • Berlusconi denies 'Ruby' sex ties

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he feels "obliged" to stay in politics, a day after receiving a jail term for tax fraud.

He said he wanted to "reform the justice system so that what happened to me doesn't happen to other citizens".

Later Mr Berlusconi confirmed he did not want to stand for prime minister.

He is expected to appeal against the conviction of inflating the price of distribution rights bought by his Mediaset group to avoid paying taxes.

The media mogul has also been barred from holding office for five years.

"There will be consequences," he said in an interview given on Saturday to TG5, one of the TV channels owned by Mediaset. "I feel obliged to stay in the field," he added.

He went on to dismiss the case against him as "science fiction".

On Wednesday, he said he would not to run again for office - confining himself to "giving advice, experience, speaking and judging without intruding".
'Intolerable harassment'
Mr Berlusconi's lawyers said on Friday that he would appeal against the four-year jail sentence for tax fraud, according to media reports.

The appeal will be lodged by 10 November, reports said, and could take several years.

Continue reading the main story
Silvio Berlusconi's trials

  • Accused of having paid for sex with an underage prostitute and of abuse of power for asking police to release her when she was arrested for theft
  • Convicted of tax fraud in case focusing on the purchase of the TV rights to US films by his company, Mediaset
  • Two other corruption cases - involving alleged tax evasion by his Mediaset company and the alleged bribing of British lawyer - expired under statute of limitations

  • Q&A: Silvio Berlusconi on trial
  • Press writes Berlusconi's 'political obituary'

A furious Mr Berlusconi went on national television on Friday to condemn the sentence as "intolerable judicial harassment".

He has long complained that he is being persecuted by left-leaning judges in Milan.

"It is a political, incredible and intolerable judgement," Mr Berlusconi said on Italia 1 - another one of the TV stations he owns.

Mr Berlusconi has faced a number of trials.

He has in the past either been cleared, or cases have run beyond the judicial time limit.

In 1997 he received a suspended sentence for false book-keeping but that conviction was reversed on appeal.

In the latest case, prosecutors said that part of the money declared for the purchase of US film rights was skimmed off to create illegal slush funds, reducing tax liabilities for Mr Berlusconi's Mediaset group.

The court handed Mr Berlusconi a longer sentence than the three years and eight months requested by prosecutors. However, it later announced that the sentence served would be one year due to a 2006 amnesty law aimed at reducing prison overcrowding.

It ordered him and his co-defendants to pay 10m euros (£8m) in damages.

Both the jail term and the ban from holding office will only take effect if the sentence is upheld by a higher court.
Sex case
The BBC's David Willey in Rome says Mr Berlusconi is unlikely ever to serve his sentence as the conviction first has to be confirmed by two successive courts of appeal.

Those appeals could take years, he adds.

In February a court threw out a corruption case against him after the statute of limitations had expired.

He is also currently on trial charged with paying for sex with an underage girl and trying to cover it up. He denies any wrongdoing.

Mr Berlusconi, 76, was forced to resign as prime minister of a centre-right coalition last November.


He's got some nerve.!!!

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