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Berlusconi defence team in last attempt to persuade judges in tax fraud appeal

Berlusconi defence team in last attempt to persuade judges in tax fraud appeal
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Lawyers for Silvio Berlusconi have been trying to persuade the judges of Italy’s highest court that the former prime minister is innocent, or at least that his appeal should be reheard.

A ruling is due later on Wednesday or on Thursday in Berlusconi’s final appeal against a tax fraud conviction, with his political career hanging in the balance.

The defence team is expected to be the last to argue in court.

On Tuesday the state prosecutor recommended lowering the ban from public office from five to three years.

But he accused Berlusconi of instigating a tax fraud mechanism within his Mediaset broadcasting empire which continued when he was prime minister.

The politician was found guilty of artificially inflating the prices of TV rights bought by his company to avoid taxes.

He was given a four-year jail term.

Euronews correspondent Enrico Bona reports from Rome: “Today, in court, the atmosphere seemed more relaxed. Silvio Berlusconi’s lawyers came out of the hearing and briefed journalists, and they told us they saw a positive sign in the fact that the Attorney General has not totally rejected the lawyers’ demands.”

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