Silvio Berlusconi convicted in Italy of tax fraud
MILAN – Just two days after announcing he won't run in spring elections, former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to four years in prison Friday in a verdict that could see him barred from public office for five years.
Berlusconi, after dominating Italian politics for nearly two decades, has seen his power weakening in the last year as a sex scandal tarnished his image and he was forced to resign as premier after failing to convince financial markets that he could come up with convincing reforms to shield Italy from Europe's debt woes.
In the latest blow, the 76-year-old billionaire media mogul received the stiffest sentence among the four co-defendants convicted in a scheme that involved inflating the price his media empire paid for TV rights to U.S. movies and pocketing the difference. And the sentence was more than the three years and eight months sought by prosecutors.
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