The former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been preparing a formal public response to his prison sentence for tax fraud.
A court in Milan gave the billionaire media magnate a four year term, automatically reduced to a year under Italian law.
He has the right to a lengthy appeals process before the sentence can be applied. A Berlusconi-owned newspaper urged him to continue ‘resisting.’
He and four other executives faced an array of charges relating to distorting the price of TV rights and skimming off money for illegal slush funds.
The court said Berlusconi showed a ‘natural capacity for crime.’
Rome resident Emanuela de Michele said: “He will appeal I would imagine. As we have seen before it has always been like this. He has always been right and I think there is a certain campaign against him.”
Another Roman, Claudio Conti, said: “Perhaps this is the first time we can say that the law is the same for everyone and even in the face of major powers, the magistrates have been able to exercise their power. I wish it could always be this way.”
The fraud is just the tip of the iceberg for Berlusconi. In a separate case the 76 year old is accused of having sex with an underage prostitute known as Ruby the Heartbreaker. He is also facing charges of pulling strings to have her released from police custody after she was arrested for theft.