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Berlusconi suggests arrest awaits

'I'll finish my book in jail' says ex-premier

13 December, 18:54
Berlusconi suggests arrest awaits (ANSA) - Rome, December 13 - Three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi suggested Friday he expects to be arrested at a book launch in Rome. "I read the first 30 pages of this book, I'll read the rest when I'm in jail," said Berlusconi, referring to a book about his late friend, disgraced former premier Bettino Craxi, who went into exile after the Bribesville scandals of the early 1990s.

Berlusconi lost his parliamentary immunity from arrest and from being wiretapped last month when he was ejected from the Senate after a tax-fraud conviction was upheld by the supreme court in August.

It was the media magnate's first binding conviction in two decades of legal battles that he alleges are the result of a campaign by left-wing elements in the judiciary to eliminate him from the political arena.

The 77-year-old billionaire is also appealing convictions for having sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his power to cover it up, and for involvement in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap.

He has been indicted for allegedly bribing a Senator to change political sides too and is being investigated in other criminal probes.

In the spring he is expected to start serving community service for the remaining one year of the tax-fraud conviction - cut from four years by an amnesty - as he is too old to actually do the sentence in prison.

On Thursday he said that there would be a revolution in Italy if he were arrested.