Berlusconi mulls request for community service

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Photo: AFP
07:35 CEST+02:00
Italy's Silvio Berlusconi could make an application to a judge next week to serve his 12-month sentence for tax fraud in the form of community service, his lawyer said Saturday.

"If there is no change of strategy, by the end of next week we will make a request for community service for Silvio Berlusconi," the lawyer, Franco Coppi, told Italian news agency ANSA.

The lawyer said the application would indicate where Berlusconi would like to do his community service, although a final decision will be up to the judge set to rule on it later this month.

Italy's supreme court on August 1 turned down Berlusconi's second and final appeal in a tax fraud case, handing him his first ever definitive conviction in a long history of legal woes.

The four-year sentence has been commuted to one year thanks to an amnesty in place for relatively minor crimes and Berlusconi will not have to go to prison because he is over the age of 70.

Community service in Italy can include stacking supermarket shelves, working in an old person's home or cleaning up graffiti although Berlusconi would be more likely to volunteer at a charity.

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The lawyer's announcement runs counter to what Berlusconi said earlier this year before receiving his conviction, when he said he did not want to do community service "like a common criminal".

Most analysts had expected him to request house arrest in one of his many palatial residences, which include a 120-hectare (297-acre) estate on the coast of Sardinia and a former monastery near Milan where he held raunchy dinner parties.

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