( 4UMF NEWS ) Former Prime Minister Berlusconi Sentenced:
It was a huge legal defeat for the 76-year-old billionaire, who has been defending himself on various charges almost from the moment he went from plutocrat to right-wing politician in 1994.
Berlusconi was not in the Milan courtroom when the verdict was read, but his hand-picked political heir, Angelino Alfano, blasted the conviction as “incomprehensible” and vowed it would be overturned.
Berlusconi has other legal problems. He is on trial for having sex with an underage teenage girl and trying to cover it up. He denies the charges.
Still, even with the tax fraud conviction, Berlusconi is unlikely to see the inside of jail cell anytime soon. He has two chances to appeal his conviction and in Italy’s baroque legal system that process could take years.
Nevertheless, it’s a big black eye for the three-time prime minister and media tycoon who owns the AC Milan soccer club and is now barred from public office. He has already said he would not run for a fourth term.
Berlusconi has already spent $517 million on his various legal battles, which he blames on leftist politicians determined to bring him down.
The aging Italian stallion was convicted of being part of a scheme to avoid paying taxes by using offshore companies to buy the rights to broadcast U.S. movies on Berlusconi’s private TV networks.