UK & World News
Italy: Berlusconi Facing Ban From Public Office
A court has ruled that Silvio Berlusconi should be barred from public office for two years following a tax fraud conviction.
But as the former prime minister is a senator the upper house of parliament will need to approve his expulsion in a vote expected next month.
The Senate - which is dominated by Berlusconi opponents from both the left and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement - is expected to strip him of his seat.
The 76-year-old billionaire could also face a six-year ban from public office because the upper house's vote will be based on a separate law to that applied by the Milan court.
Losing his seat would also deprive Berlusconi, who is fighting a conviction for paying for sex with a minor among other legal cases, of his parliamentary immunity from arrest.
The Milan court's ruling reflected the prosecution's request for a two-year ban.
Berlusconi's lawyers, who can appeal to the supreme court, had asked for a one-year ban, the minimum under the law that was being applied in the case.
The maximum would have been three years.
On August 1, Italy's supreme court definitively upheld a tax fraud conviction against the centre-right leader, rejecting his final appeal against an earlier four-year jail sentence, which was reduced to one year.
If the Senate expels him, Berlusconi will spend the year either under house arrest or in community service.
The August supreme court ruling involved claims of inflated invoices at his Mediaset broadcasting empire.
It was the first definitive sentence he had received after dozens of previous trials on charges ranging from tax to sex offences.
Berlusconi has protested his innocence, accusing magistrates of persecuting him since his entry into politics 20 years ago.