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Italy's Berlusconi sentenced to four years in jail for tax fraud (2)

(Xinhua)

10:43, October 27, 2012

The trial, started nearly six years ago, focused on broadcasting rights that Berlusconi's holding company Fininvest bought via offshore companies from groups in the United States for 470 million euros (607 million U.S. dollars) between 1994 and 1999.

Berlusconi has now the right to appeal the verdict two times, and will not have to serve any time in jail nor renounce public office until the definite sentence.

The verdict came two days after Berlusconi announced in a statement he will not run in elections scheduled for spring 2013 as the leader of his People of Freedom (PdL) center-right party.

"It is another evidence of judicial harassment against Silvio Berlusconi ... We are confident the appeal proceedings will give him reason, and we hope these judgments come quickly," the leader in pectore of PdL, Angelino Alfano, said in commenting on the ruling.

Berlusconi, who has served four terms as the Italian prime minister, has faced at least 17 official criminal and civil allegations since he entered public life in 1994.


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