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Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to jail over wiretap scandal

Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to jail over wiretap scandal
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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to one year in jail over illegal wiretapping.

The prosecution accused the owner of AC Milan of arranging for a police wiretap of a political rival to be leaked to a newspaper owned by his brother.

The conversation was between the former centre-left leader Piero Fassino and head of the insurance group Unipol and related to a bank takeover.

Berlusconi has the right of appeal and the Italian justice system rules mean that the 76-year-old media billionaire would not have to serve any jail time until the appeals process has been exhausted.

A higher court may still overturn the ruling.

The verdict was immediately criticised by Berlusconi’s lawyer Piero Longo: “I’m not surprised, given that it’s Milan and it has to do with Berlusconi. But I am concerned and shocked because I’m quite convinced that the charges against Berlusconi were weak and contradictory and even completely lacking.”

Berlusconi’s brother Paolo, publisher of the family-owned Il Giornale daily, was sentenced to two years and three months over the same case.