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Europe

Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-15

An Italian court on Tuesday ordered former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to do a year of community service following his conviction for tax fraud.

The former premier, who was convicted in 2012 in connection with TV rights bought in the 1990s by his Mediaset media empire, will spend at least one day a week helping at a centre for the elderly.

Italian media reported last week that Berlusconi's lawyers had asked for him to be sentenced to community service helping care for disabled and elderly people near his estate outside Milan.

Right-wing daily La Stampa quoted his lawyers as saying that Berlusconi would be able to "give hope" to those he helps.

In addition to performing community service, the 77-year-old billionaire tycoon will be forced to respect a curfew and will be limited in his movements. Berlusconi will not be allowed to leave the Lombardy region, of which his hometown of Milan is the capital, and will be allowed to travel to Rome only from Tuesdays to Thursdays.

He will be spared prison time because of Italy’s policy of showing leniency to those over 70. His sentence could be further reduced to nine months for good behaviour.

Italy’s constitutional court upheld his fraud conviction in June last year, rejecting Berlusconi’s legal challenge to an original four-year jail sentence and a five-year ban from public office.

Berlusconi has already been expelled from parliament and is temporarily banned from holding public office.

Berlusconi is still the figurehead leader of the Forza Italia (Go Italy) opposition party, Italy's main centre-right group, and has been leading its campaign for European Parliament elections in May.

A Milan court last June convicted Berlusconi of paying for sex with an underage prostitute during infamous parties at his villa and then using his influence to try to cover it up, sentencing him to seven years in prison and barring him from public office for life.

However, there are two more levels of appeal on those charges before the sentence becomes final.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2014-04-15

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