ROME, Oct 26 (AFP) – Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was on Friday sentenced to four years in jail — quickly reduced to one — for tax fraud with Italy’s lengthy appeals process likely to ensure he never sees the inside of a prison cell. Scandal-hit Berlusconi, 76, condemned the sentence as “intolerable judicial [...]

Sunday Times 2

Berlusconi sentenced, but jail unlikely

View(s):

ROME, Oct 26 (AFP) – Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was on Friday sentenced to four years in jail — quickly reduced to one — for tax fraud with Italy’s lengthy appeals process likely to ensure he never sees the inside of a prison cell.

Scandal-hit Berlusconi, 76, condemned the sentence as “intolerable judicial harassment”, a week after he denied hosting raunchy parties and having sex with an underage prostitute in a separate case.
The four-year term was immediately cut to one under an amnesty law approved in 2006 by the then centre-left government to reduce the overcrowding of Italian prisons.

Berlusconi was also banned from holding public office for five years by the Milan court.†His lawyers said late Friday they would appeal by November 10, according to reports, automatically suspending the application of the sentence.

Berlusconi is, however, considered certain to stave off any imprisonment or ban on his political activities through appeals. The verdict, connected to his Mediaset empire, came two days after he announced his retirement from politics.

His lawyer branded the verdict as “absolutely unbelievable”.†“This is an incredible and intolerable political sentence. This is no doubt a political verdict, as political as all trials fabricated against me,” Berlusconi said on his Italia 1 television channel.

During the trial, which began six years ago but was repeatedly suspended, Berlusconi was accused of artificially inflating the price of distribution rights bought by his companies and of creating foreign slush funds to avoid paying taxes in Italy.

The court also sentenced the media tycoon and 10 co-defendants to pay 10 million euros ($13 million) to Italian tax authorities for losses in what they called “large-scale fraud”.

The tax scam helped to create secret overseas accounts and reduce profits to pay fewer taxes in Italy.
The prosecution had asked for a prison sentence of three years and eight months for Berlusconi, the longest-serving prime minister of post-war Italy.




Share This Post

DeliciousDiggGoogleStumbleuponRedditTechnoratiYahooBloggerMyspace
comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.