Italian former PM Berlusconi sentenced for tax fraud

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- An Italian court
sentenced former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to
four years in jail for tax fraud, but later cut it to one
year because of an amnesty law.
Berlusconi’s tax fraud case stems from the
purchase of broadcasting rights by his Mediaset
television company. Berlusconi said in response
that the conviction was unreal and politicized.
The former prime minister has been tried numerous
times for his business dealings. He has always been
cleared or seen the statute of limitations expire. For
more details, Andrew Dupuis has the story.
After being found guilty of tax fraud, former Italian
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been handed a
jail sentence. Along with the sentence is a bar from
The Milan court sentenced him to four years but
later cut it to one year because of the amnesty law
aimed at reducing prison overcrowding.
The court also sentenced Berlusconi and 10 co-
defendants to pay 10 million Euros to Italian tax
Berlusconi condemned the conviction as "unreal."
He said it was the result of "politicized" judges who
have made Italy unlivable and no longer a
But it is not the final result. Berlusconi still has the
right to appeal the ruling two more times before a
definite sentence. And he will not have to serve any
time in jail until his final appeal is heard. He and
others were accused of buying US film rights at
inflated prices via two offshore companies under his
It is the first time Berlusconi, who has faced a
number of trials, has been convicted of crime
concerning his business activities. In the past, he
has either been cleared, or cases have run beyond
the judicial time limit.
Early in 1997, he received a suspended sentence for
false book-keeping but that conviction was reversed
on appeal.
In the case for which he was sentenced on Friday,
prosecutors argued that part of the money declared
for the purchase of film rights was skimmed off to
create illegal slush funds, reducing tax liabilities for
his Mediaset group.

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