Italy's top court to debate Berlusconi tax fraud

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Silvio Berlusconi lost his first appeal in the tax case in May. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
16:39 CEST+02:00
Italy's top court will meet on July 30th to debate a request by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to have a tax fraud conviction reviewed because some of the charges it relates to are due to expire.

The billionaire tycoon faces a final ruling in the case likely later this year after losing his first appeal in May, with the court sentencing him to one year in prison and a five year ban from public office.

According to the Corriere della Sera daily, by the time the final ruling comes, some of the crimes could already have expired under a statute of limitations.

If confirmed and implemented, observers say that this sentence would effectively put an end to Berlusconi's long and colourful political career. 

He is however unlikely ever to be jailed since sentencing guidelines for over-70s in Italy are very lenient. He was likely therefore to be sentenced at most to house arrest.

The case relates to film distribution rights acquited by the 76-year-old Berlusconi's media empire, Mediaset and some of the crimes relate to the 1990s.

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In a separate case, a court last month sentenced Berlusconi to seven years in prison for having sex with an underage prostitute and for abuse of office.

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