Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 76, has been sentenced to four years in jail for tax fraud related to the purchase of broadcasting rights by his television company. He is likely to appeal the ruling two more times before the sentence becomes definitive after lengthy and slow court procedures.
ONLY A few days ago, Berlusconi had announced that he would not run in next year's elections as the leader of his People of Freedom (PDL) party. The new court ruling has ruined Berlusconi image as a powerful politician of about two decades.
The court confirmed that a very significant amount of tax evasion as been carried out by him in buying and selling of broadcast rights. On the other hand Berlusconi has slammed the court for being politically motivated.
It is worth mentioning that Berlusconi is media tycoon who has served three times as Prime Minister of Italy from 1994 to 2011. He has also been the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy.
Last year, Berlusconi was charged with having sex with nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug who was under the age of 18. The opposition parties in Italy charged him with abusing his political powers in an attempt to cover up the relationship with Mahroug.