Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has described his conviction and jail sentence for tax fraud as “unreal”.
The 76-year-old was ordered to serve four years in prison by a court in Milan, which was then reduced to 12 months a few hours later.
But the politician and media tycoon is unlikely to be locked up, as two rounds of appeal are still open to him.
Speaking by phone to one of his own TV networks, Berlusconi said: “I was certain that I would be acquitted of these totally unreal accusations. It is a verdict that I can only define as politically motivated, incredible and unacceptable.”
The billionaire was accused of inflating the price his television company Mediaset paid for TV rights to American movies and pocketing the difference.
He was also banned from holding office for five years.
Just two days ago, he confirmed that he would not be running again for the post of prime minister.