Berlusconi Prison Sentence Reduced To One Year, Not Likely To Be Served At All

 @JaceyFortin on October 26 2012 10:58 PM
Berlusconi
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Reuters

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had his prison sentence cut to one year on Friday, just hours after he had been sentenced to four years behind bars for tax fraud.

The sentence was cut in accordance with a 2006 amnesty law meant to reduce overcrowding in Italy’s jail system, according to the Telegraph.

The case against Berlusconi revolved around his media corporation Mediaset, the largest commercial broadcaster in Italy. Investigations began in 2006, although the trial did not begin until this year. In Milan on Friday, Judge Edoardo D'Avossa ruled that Berlusconi had committed tax evasion: He will now pay nearly $13 million to the Italian Revenue Agency.

The politician’s one-year jail sentence is not likely to be served. According to the Italian penal system, first instance -- or primo grado -- criminal sentences are not served if the defendant appeals the decision within 15 days, something Berlusconi is expected to do. And if that fails, he may appeal again.

But it is unlikely that a judge would reject any appeal, given that Berlusconi is 76 years old.

Berlusconi is also banned from running for public office for five years, but this too could be reversed upon appeal.

The former prime minister announced this week that he would not run for office in next year’s general election, although he has promised to stay involved in national politics. He said Angelino Alfano, who currently heads Berlusconi’s center-right People of Freedom Party, will take his place as its prime ministerial candidate.

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