Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to four years in jail for tax fraud. The term was later reduced to one year because of an amnesty law to prevent overcrowding in Italian prisons.
But pundits say he’s unlikely to spend much time behind bars following a six-year trial which investigated the affairs of his TV company Mediaset.
A court in Milan ruled that the 76-year-old used offshore companies to avoid taxes on the purchase of American film rights.
Prosecutors also alleged that Berlusconi and others pocketed around 250 million euros when they inflated prices of the broadcast rights of television programmes as they relicensed them within the company.
Berlusconi, who stepped down as prime minister last November, has always denied the charges.
Friday’s ruling also banned him from holding office for five years. It came two days after he announced that he would not run for the position of prime minister again.
The jail term is likely to be overturned on appeal.
Mediaset’s chairman Fedele Confalonieri was found not guilty.