Yesterday Friday October 26, 2012, former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was jailed for four years. He and accomplices were found guilty of tax fraud. How the mighty fall. Berlusconi has always sailed close to the wind and in the past faced many sleaze allegations. He proved as slippery as an eel and until yesterday always managed to wriggle off the hook. He may yet do so once more.
The latest news is that his four year jail term has been reduced to one year. His early reprieve is due to a 2006 amnesty law aimed at reducing prison overcrowding. Berlsconi is launching an appeal and so presumably even that meagre sentence could be quashed. It is hard to believe that he can come out of this unscathed but nothing should surprise us.
The larger than life Berlusconi has put his own spin on the case. He denies wrong doing, claims to have been hounded and has vowed to stay in politics. Presumably unless his conviction is quashed the latter would not be possible. Do not put anything beyond Silvio though. However now aged 76 surely his political days are over once and for all?
He has until November 10 to lodge his appeal against his conviction. He has escaped previous attempts to bring him to justice by many means. These have included delaying tactics resulting in cases running beyond the judicial time limit. So time is important.
According to the BBC Berlusconi's previous trials include him being:
Mr Berlusconi is a billionaire media magnate. Presumably the role of Italian leader was helpful to him then. Reuters reported that "Milan judge Edoardo d'Avossa told a packed court that between 2000 and 2003, there had been "a very significant amount of tax evasion" and "an incredible mechanism of fraud" in place around the buying and selling of broadcast rights".
Berlusconi has dismissed the judges involved as "lefties"
Berlusconi initially said that he would not stand in the next Italian election but has now apparently changed his mind. He feels "compelled" to stand he claims. Now why would that be? According to Silvio it is to "reform Italy's justice system" Unbelievable? Not really. In the past he has changed laws in order to protect his slippery hide.