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.
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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid