NPR : News

Filed Under:

Italy's High Court Affirms Berlusconi's Tax Fraud Conviction

A tax fraud conviction against ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi has been upheld by the country's highest court in a move that could imperil a fragile coalition government.

The Court of Cassation's five-judge panel decided Thursday to reject Berlusconi's final appeal, threatening the stability of Premier Enrico Letta's ruling coalition, which depends on support from Berlusconi's party. The flamboyant media mogul turned politician had earlier been sentenced to four years, but that had been commuted under an amnesty.

The charges stem from the October conviction of 76-year-old Berlusconi and three others on tax fraud charges related to the tycoon's purchase of television rights for his Mediaset network.

However, the judges ordered a lower court to review its imposition of a five-year ban on Berlusconi's participating in public office.

The Associated Press reports:

"Berlusconi has no official role in the government, but he remains influential in the center-right, and backers already slowed Parliament's work last month after the high court put his case on the docket this summer, instead of the fall, to prevent some of the charges from expiring."

However, it will take time for the ramifications of the decision to wend their way through the Italian legal and political systems, The New York Times says. The newspaper notes that while the decision represents "the first time Mr. Berlusconi has received a definitive conviction in 20 years of tangles with Italy's judicial system," it "does not automatically send [him] to jail or house arrest."

"The same Milan appeals court that convicted the former prime minister must also formally request his arrest. Mr. Berlusconi's lawyers could also request a suspended sentence.

"A Senate committee must rule on whether Mr. Berlusconi must resign from public office, a procedure that could take months. Almost all lawmakers handed definitive sentences have chosen to leave Parliament of their own volition in order to avoid embarrassment."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Rita Dove: "Collected Poems: 1974 - 2004"

A conversation with Rita Dove, former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winner.

NPR

Frozen Food Fears: 4 Things To Know About The Listeria Recall

The FDA issued a massive recall of frozen fruits and vegetables this week. Here's what you need to know about the nasty bug that's causing all the problems.
WAMU 88.5

Back From The Breach: Moving The Federal Workforce Forward

A year after a massive cyber breach compromised the databases of the Office of Personnel Management, Kojo talks with OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert about her agency and key issues facing the federal workforce.

WAMU 88.5

Why Medical Error Is The Third Leading Cause Of Death In The U.S.

New research shows medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 250,000 people a year. Why there are so many mistakes, and what can be done to improve patient safety.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.