Friday, October 26, 2012

Berlusconi sentenced to jail for major tax fraud


How nice. You open the BBC website, and what is the main headline? “Berlusconi sentenced in tax case”. I just love the fact that our former PM is so versatile that his name suddenly pops up in the most diverse occasions.
This is an historical day for Italy. Berlusconi has been involved in a lot of trials, but this is actually the first time that he has been convicted. Most of the cases had to be dropped because they had gone on beyond the judicial time limit.  But this time, Berlusconi was found guilty of major tax fraud. The Milan court sentenced him to four years, but later cut it to one year because of an amnesty law (an amnesty law that, ironically, was wanted by the 2006 left-wing coalition. As it turned out, they did Berlusconi a huge favour). 

A desperate Silvio Berlusconi

The trial about Mediaset rights, Berlusconi’s mass media company, has been going on for six years. Berlusconi and other managers were accused of buying US film rights at inflated prices, in order to create illegal funds and reduce Mediaset tax liabilities.  
Besides the prison terms, Berlusconi was condemned to pay 10m euro in damages. Other people involved, such as Mediaset chairman Fedele Confalonieri, were acquitted.
As usual, Berlusconi said the sentence was an "intolerable judicial harassment". He could have said much worse. In the past, he referred to himself as “the most persecuted person ever, after Jesus Christ”. 
It is impressive to see that, after all the years Berlusconi spent passing legislation designed to ensure his impunity in his various trials, someone actually managed to convict him. 
Now we can expect him to appeal to a higher court that could completely reverse the sentence. 
I cannot know what will happen, but I am quite confident about a thing: I am almost 100% sure that Berlusconi could be as guilty as hell, but will never enter a prison in his life.