Court bans Berlusconi from public office
By Ilaria Polleschi, ReutersMILAN--A Milan court ruled on Saturday that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi should be barred from holding public office for two years following a conviction for tax fraud.
October 20, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
However, since Berlusconi is a senator, the court's decision will have no immediate effect and his expulsion from the Senate will depend on a separate vote in the upper house of parliament, expected to take place next month.
Saturday's ruling reflected the prosecution's request for a two-year ban. Berlusconi's lawyers, who said they would appeal the decision to the supreme court, had asked for a one-year ban, the minimum under the law being applied in the Milan case. The maximum would have been three years.
Italy's supreme court on Aug. 1 definitively upheld a tax fraud conviction against the center-right leader, rejecting his final appeal against an earlier four-year jail sentence.
The four-year sentence was commuted to one year, and, if the Senate expels him, Berlusconi, 77, will spend the year either under house arrest or in community service.
In the Aug. 1 ruling, the supreme court confirmed the conviction but ordered a further judicial review of a ban on holding public office imposed for the same offence.
The upper house's vote next month will effectively supersede the Milan court's decision because it will be based on a separate law, which, if he is expelled, would ban Berlusconi from public office for six years.