ROME, October 27 (RIA Novosti)
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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Saturday he intended to stay in politics, a day after receiving a four-year prison term for fraud.
A Milan court on Friday convicted Berlusconi, 76, of tax fraud and sentenced him to four years in jail in connection with the media magnate's Mediaset television company.
“I feel obliged to stay in the political field and to reform the justice system so that what happened to me doesn't happen to other citizens,” Berlusconi told Italy’s Canale 5, the flagship of his media empire.
The statement came as a surprise as on Wednesday Berlusconi 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.
Berlusconi denounced the judges as biased and politicized.
The court ruled that Berlusconi, together with other defendants in the case, is to pay Italian tax services 10 million euros and imposed on the tycoon a five-year ban on running for political office.
Both the ban and the jail term will come into force if the sentence is upheld by a higher court. Berlusconi’s lawyers said they will lodge an appeal by November 10.
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