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'Impossible' for Berlusconi to receive justice, says Toti

Forza Italia political advisor says ex-premier won't give up

19 March, 15:14
'Impossible' for Berlusconi to receive justice, says Toti (ANSA) - Rome, March 19 - It's "impossible" for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi to find any justice, but he will not give up, Forza Italia (FI) political advisor Giovanni Toti said Wednesday.

He spoke one day after Italy's supreme court upheld a two-year ban from office connected with Berlusconi's definitive tax-fraud conviction, crushing the media magnate's slim hopes of standing as a candidate in European Parliament elections in May.

"It is impossible for Silvio Berlusconi to get justice," complained Toti, a former journalist with one of Berlusconi's media outlets.

But Berlusconi "will remain in the field," and FI will run candidates in the European election, he added in an interview with television network TG3.

The leader of the opposition centre-right FI party was ejected from parliament last year on the basis of a separate six-year ban on office incurred by a 2012 anti-corruption law that kicked in after the supreme court upheld the conviction for tax-fraud at his media empire.

Berlusconi is appealing that ban to the European Court of Human Rights, saying it is retroactive, and therefore unconstitutional, as the anti-corruption law was approved after he was handed the original tax-fraud sentence.

The law was approved, however, before the four-year prison sentence - three years of which have been commuted because of an amnesty - was made definitive by the Supreme Court of Cassation.

The two-year ban from office, on the other hand, is directly linked to the tax-fraud conviction.

Indeed, on the basis of the decision, Berlusconi will not even be able to vote in the European elections, never mind stand as a candidate in them.

Berlusconi, 77, has continued to lead FI from outside parliament since his ejection from the Senate.