Berlusconi 4-year Mediaset fraud term confirmation asked

Ex-premier says he expects "fair judgement"

Berlusconi 4-year Mediaset fraud term confirmation asked

Milan, March 1 - A Milan prosecutor on Friday asked appeals court judges to uphold former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi four-year conviction for tax fraud in the trading of film rights for TV broadcasts by his Mediaset media empire. Berlusconi was sentenced on October 26 to four years and banned from public office for five. He called the verdict "impossible". Due to a 2006 amnesty law, the media magnate who came second in the Italian elections will not have to serve three of the four years of his jail sentence if the ruling is upheld on appeal. Berlusconi has maintained throughout the trial that he was not involved in any of the suspicious film-rights trades as he was busy working in politics. But judges ruled in October that he indeed "remained at the top of the management" and "there was no other person" capable of managing the fraudulent deals. The prosecutor asked for a sentence of three years and four months for Mediaset President Fedele Confalonieri, who was acquitted at the first trial. The trial, which featured 11 defendants in all, is 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 has fiercely argued he is the victim of a witch hunt by a group of allegedly left-leaning magistrates. On Friday he told judges "I hope this will not be a political sentence because I still have much to do for the good of the country and I'm hoping for a fair judgement".

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