• Thursday, October 23, 2014

Italy ex-PM Berlusconi to do community service

BBC Online
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waves to supporters as his girlfriend Francesca Pascale looks on during a rally to protest his tax fraud conviction, outside his palace in central Rome August 4, 2013. Photo: Reuters
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waves to supporters as his girlfriend Francesca Pascale looks on during a rally to protest his tax fraud conviction, outside his palace in central Rome August 4, 2013. Photo: Reuters

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi must do one year's community service over tax fraud, a Milan court has ruled.

He was convicted of tax fraud last year in connection with TV rights purchased by his firm Mediaset in the 1990s.

The alternative to community service had been house arrest. It is not yet clear what form his community service will take.

The 77-year-old billionaire has been embroiled in a string of court cases.

He was spared prison in the Mediaset case because the Italian legal system is lenient to the over-70s.

Italian media reports say he is likely to work one half-day a week at a home for elderly and disabled people near his estate outside Milan.

He will be subject to a curfew and banned from meeting people with criminal convictions - a measure which applies to at least one of his associates, AFP news agency reports.

COURT BATTLES

Berlusconi has always denied the charges, accusing left-wing judges of a witch-hunt aimed at neutralising him as a political leader.

He is still leader of Forza Italia, the main conservative opposition bloc, but he is barred from standing in next month's European elections.

Last year he was convicted of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his powers, which brought him a lifetime ban from public office. He was expelled from the Italian Senate.

He is appealing against the underage sex conviction, in a trial known as the "Ruby" case.

He is also on trial for allegedly bribing a centre-left senator to switch sides.

Published: 5:44 pm Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Last modified: 10:05 pm Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TAGS: Italy former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tax fraud community service

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