ROME, October 26 (RIA Novosti)
- Berlusconi Appears in Court, Denies Charges
- Berlusconi Lawyer Denies Villa Sale Report
- Ruby Asks Berlusconi for 5 Mln Euros for Silence
- Berlusconi Faces Witness Tampering Charges
A Milan court on Friday convicted former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of tax fraud and sentenced him to four years in prison in connection with the media magnate's Mediaset television company, Sky TG24 television reported.
The sentencing was aired live from the courtroom without Berlusconi's presence.
His lawyers said they will appeal.
The ruling comes two days after Berlusconi, 76, said he would not run for prime minister next year.
The Mediaset case has been one of the most high-profile and controversial trials involving Berlusconi’s business activity.
According to the prosecution, Mediaset was involved in a scheme to acquire the rights to broadcast movies on Berlusconi's private television networks via shell companies, evading tax payments through false accounting and financial reports.
The court ruled that Berlusconi, together with other defendants in the case, is to pay Italian tax services 10 million euros.
Commenting on the verdict, Russian lawyers said it shows that the principle that all are equal before the law is very much alive in Italy but the same could not be said of Russia.
“It’s impossible to even attempt to prosecute a sitting or former prime minister in our country,” lawyer Alexei Melnikov said, adding, however, that it is “a serious signal.”
“Some people should give it a thought,” he said.
His view was echoed by lawyer Larisa Movye, who said the law in Russia is very loose and can be bent any way it suits you.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Siberian Air Base Gets New Su-30SM Fighter Jets
Infographics: First Russian Smartphone
New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.