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Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to jail for tax fraud

  • Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced on Friday to four years in jail sentence and barred from office after being found guilty of tax fraud.

    The Milan court cut the sentence to one year because of an amnesty law.

    He and others were accused of buying U.S. film rights at inflated prices through two offshore companies under his control.

    Prosecutors argued that part of the money declared for the purchase of the film rights was not declared in order to create illegal funds and reducing tax liabilities for Berlusconi's Mediaset group.

    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.