News / Europe

Berlusconi Jail Sentence Upheld by Italy Supreme Court

Italian media mogul and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi comments on the supreme court decision that confirmed his jail sentence for tax fraud, August 1, 2013.
Italian media mogul and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi comments on the supreme court decision that confirmed his jail sentence for tax fraud, August 1, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Italy's supreme court on Thursday upheld a jail sentence against Silvio Berlusconi for tax fraud in a devastating blow to the four-times prime minister that could throw the country's fragile coalition government into crisis.
 
The former cruise ship crooner is Italy's most colorful and scandal-prone figure but it was his first definitive conviction in up to 30 court cases on charges ranging from fraud and corruption to having sex with an underage prostitute.
 
After a three-day hearing, the five judges of the supreme court rejected Berlusconi's final appeal against a verdict handed down by two lower courts which sentenced the media mogul to four years in jail - commuted to one year under an amnesty.
 
But the top judges ordered a review by a Milan court of the second part of his sentence, a five-year ban from public office. This will enable him to remain a senator and leader of his center-right People of Freedom Party (PDL) for the moment.
 
In a sober video message after the verdict, Berlusconi proclaimed his total innocence and launched a bitter attack on magistrates he said had hounded him for 20 years and become an undemocratic rival power to the state.
 
Looking shaken, he vowed to press ahead in politics with the refoundation of his original political party, Forza Italia, through the mobilization of young people, and a reform of the justice system. But he acknowledged that he had “arrived almost at the end of my working life.”
 
Berlusconi, Italy's longest serving premier, had previously said the government must not fall, whatever the verdict, but he made no mention of this in his video address.
 
The 76-year-old billionaire who has dominated politics for 20 years and been prime minister four times, was convicted for inflating the price paid for television rights by his Mediaset media empire and skimming off part of the money to create slush funds.
 
Because of his age he is likely to serve the sentence either through community service or under house arrest.
 
He accuses leftist magistrates of relentlessly trying to remove him from politics since he stormed onto the scene in 1994 after a corruption scandal wiped out the old order.
 
The verdict could not only mark the twilight of his long career but destabilize the three-month-old government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta and potentially send tremors across the euro zone.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous from: Port Harcourt -Nigeria
August 05, 2013 10:52 PM
If for 30years Berlusconi has not been able to convincingly get himself free from suspicions and accusations of scandals, he should accept this Supreme Court verdict as a true and final report on 76years of mysterious dealings with Italy and the entire Europe.He should stop annoying descent minds with his face in public life, while the long decades it took Italy to arrive at this verdict should cause the Italians to have a serious re-think on both their moral values and the workings of their justice system.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid