Why Berlusconi Does Not Go to Jail but Helps the Elderly Instead

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:11

Milan court ruled that former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi will have to work for four consecutive hours at least once a week at the Fondazione Sacra Famiglia home for the elderly in Cesano Boscone just outside Milan. 

In 2013, the leader of the centre-right Forza Italia political party was found guilty of tax fraud. He was sentenced to four years in prison and banned from public office in what is being billed as a historical verdict.

So why is he not in jail then, many people wonder?

Firstly, the four-year sentence is reduced to one year because of the indulto (a general amnesty/pardon passed by Parliament in 2006) which applies to the case, and secondly, because he is too old to go to jail under standard Italian legal practice.

Earlier this week, the Milan supervisory court ruled that Berlusconi must serve the year remaining on the four-year tax fraud conviction by doing community service at a facility near Milan for four consecutive hours a week, but he risks that the sentence will be turned into house arrest, instead of community service, if he continues to "defame" magistrates.

The court also ordered that Berlusconi must stay in the region of Lombardy, although he will be allowed to go to Rome between Tuesday and Thursday each week, to be able to continue his political activities and take part in the campaign for the European elections. 

Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly bribing a centre-left Senator to switch sides and is also appealing a conviction for paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office that carried a lifetime office ban. The political and legal saga of the Italian media tycoon is definitely not over yet. 

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