Berlusconi sentenced for tax fraud

Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to four years in prison and three years interdiction from public office after being found guilty of tax fraud.
 
The Milan court handed down the sentence on Friday afternoon at the end of the so-called “Mediaset” trial, in which Berlusconi and others were charged with having bought the rights to American movies between 1994 and 1998 via a network of offshore accounts, and inflating the prices during the transfer from one account to another.
 
The trial has lasted for six years.  The sentence was longer than the punishment demanded by the state prosecutor. Movie producer Frank Agrama was also found guilty and sentenced to three years, while Berlusconi’s long-term friend and business associate Fedele Confalonieri was found not guilty.
 
The judges also decreed a provisional payment of €10 million in damages to the revenue agency Agenzia delle Entrate, and the publication of the full sentence in leading business daily Il Sole 24 Ore.
 
Berlusconi is also on trial over two separate accusations in Milan.  He is widely expected to appeal against today’s sentence.