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Berlusconi gets community service

Berlusconi gets community service

Ex-premier must serve year remaining on tax-fraud sentence

Milan, 15 April 2014, 11:56

ANSA Editorial




A Milan court on Tuesday accepted Silvio Berlusconi's request to serve the year remaining on his tax-fraud sentence by doing community service. The rest of the four-year sentence for fraud at his media empire was covered by amnesties.
    Prosecutors had recommended the court agree to the request.
    The alternative was for the three-time premier be put under house arrest. The charismatic 77-year-old is too old to go to jail under standard Italian legal practice. The Milan court said Berlusconi would do social work on a trial basis. There have been reports that he could be asked to work one half day a week at a facility for the elderly or the disabled.
    The prosecutor who asked for the ex-premier be allowed to serve the sentence by doing community service warned last week that he will be put under house arrest instead if he defames magistrates.
    The media magnate has repeatedly blasted judges in the past.
    The billionaire has said the tax-fraud ruling, which led to him being ejected from the Senate in November, is part of a two-decade campaign by allegedly left-wing elements in the judiciary to erase him from Italy's public life.
    His first-ever definitive conviction has prevented him standing as a candidate in next month's European elections and from voting in them. In two separate cases, Berlusconi is also appealing a conviction for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office that carried a life office ban; and is on trial for allegedly bribing a centre-left Senator to switch sides.
    But last month a Milan court ruled that a one-year term for alleged involvement in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap had timed out.


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