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Berlusconi "obliged" to stay in politics

  • A day after receiving a jail term for tax fraud, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he feels "obliged" to stay in politics,

    Speaking in an interview on Saturday to TG5, one of the TV channels owned by his Mediaset group, he said he wanted to "reform the justice system so that what happened to me doesn't happen to other citizens".

    Berlusconi added he did not want to stand for prime minister but said “I feel obliged to stay in the field.”

    He is expected to appeal against the four-year jail sentence for inflating the price of distribution rights bought by Mediaset to avoid paying taxes.

    An appeal is due be lodged by November 10 but could take several years.

    The court handed Berlusconi a longer sentence than the three years and eight months requested by prosecutors.

    It later announced that the sentence would be cut to one year due to a 2006 amnesty law aimed at decreasing prison overcrowding.

    The court also ordered him and his co-defendants to pay $13 million.

    Berlusconi will remain free pending an appeal against the verdict.

    He has faced a number of trials in the past but has either been cleared or cases have run past the judicial time limit.

    Berlusconi, 76, was forced to step down as prime minister of a center-right coalition last November.