Milan

Berlusconi gets four years for Mediaset tax fraud

Banned from public office for three

Berlusconi gets four years for Mediaset tax fraud

Milan, October 26 - Former premier Silvio Berlusconi was found guilty Friday of tax fraud in the trading of film rights for TV broadcasts by his Mediaset media empire. Berlusconi, who said this week he would not run for premier in April, was sentenced to four years and banned from public office for three. The verdict was the first of a possible three since defendants are entitled to two appeals, the last to the supreme Court of Cassation. The trial, which featured 11 defendants in all, was one of three involving the media magnate, including one in which he is accused of having sex with an underage alleged prostitute and using his position as premier to allegedly try to hush it up. Berlusconi has been tried some 30 times but very rarely convicted. The few convictions were either overturned on appeal or timed out, sometimes because of law changes made by his governments. The ex-premier, replaced by technocrat Mario Monti almost a year ago, has fiercely argued he is the victim of a witch hunt by a group of allegedly left-leaning magistrates. Mediaset President Fedele Confalonieri was acquitted Friday.

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