A Milan appeals court on Saturday ruled that Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister with a lifetime of court battles under his belt, should be barred from holding political office for two years following a conviction for tax fraud.
The court was ordered by the Italian Supreme Court to determine
the length of the political ban in connection with the media
mogul’s tax fraud conviction and four-year jail term, after
prosecutors conceded mistakes in the original five-year ban.
Berlusconi, 77, is already facing the loss of his Senate seat after losing his final appeal in the tax fraud case this summer, under a 2012 law stipulating that anyone convicted to more than two years in prison is forbidden from participating in politics for six years.
If the Senate votes to remove Berlusconi, he will forfeit his parliamentary immunity from prosecution in a number of criminal cases.
He will also be forced to serve a year under house arrest, or performing some sort of community service, which is his preferred option, according to a request he submitted to the court last week.
With the loss of his Senate seat pending, the leader of Forza
Italia earlier this month made a desperate bid to bring down the
government by threatening to yank his five Cabinet ministers out
But in a rare swipe at Berlusconi’s authority, supporters aligned
themselves with the forces of “stability” instead, voting to
support the government of Premier Enrico Letta.
The flamboyant Italian politician and billionaire tycoon has
grabbed headlines in the past not only for his brash political
and business style, but for the adventures of his private life as
In June, an Italian court declared Berlusconi guilty both of
paying for sex with an underage prostitute - a girl of Moroccan
decent nicknamed Ruby Heartstealer - and abusing his office to
cover up the relationship.
Berlusconi, who went far at introducing the term “bunga bunga”
into the modern vernacular, was sentenced to seven years for his
indiscretion. Yet it is highly unlikely the media mogul and
political powerhouse will be forced to trade in his playboy
lifestyle for the rigid routine of prison life due to an Italian
appeals process that promises to provide sensational fodder for
Italian newspapers for many years to come.