A court in Milan has found Silvio Berlusconi guilty of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his power to cover it up.
The former Italian Prime Minister has been given seven years’ jail and a life ban from public office. But the sentence is not immediately effective, pending an appeal. It could be years before a verdict is final.
It is thought the outcome could threaten Italy’s fragile coalition government, which depends on the support of Berlusconi’s centre-right party.
The seven-year sentence announced by the judge is one year more than prosecutors had asked for.
Berlusconi had denied all the charges against him. The two-year case has grabbed worldwide attention with its accounts of so-called “bunga bunga” parties at his private villa.
The 76-year-old billionaire was accused of paying for sex with a nightclub dancer who was under the legal age for prostitution, and abuse of power for trying to get her freed from custody.