UK & World News

  • 15 April 2014, 11:06

Berlusconi 'Ordered To Do Community Service'

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly been ordered to do a year of community service.

The 77-year-old will also be restricted in his movements, according to Italian media reports.

It is not yet known what tasks he will have to complete, although his lawyers reportedly asked for him to work one day a week in a centre for disabled and elderly people near his home in Milan.

Berlusconi's conviction for tax fraud, which was upheld last year, stems from his purchase of television distribution rights in the 1990s.

A court heard he was behind a scheme to purchase the rights to broadcast US movies on his TV networks through a series of offshore companies and had falsely declared the payments to avoid taxes.

He claimed he did not receive a fair trial and that judges were trying to "eliminate" him from public office.

Berlusconi has already been expelled from parliament and banned from standing for office for six years.

However, he is not expected to serve time in prison because of the Italian legal system's leniency for over-70s.

His community service sentence could also be cut by three months for good behaviour.

Berlusconi has been embroiled in a number of high-profile court cases in recent years.

Last June, the three-time prime minister was found guilty of paying for sex with underage prostitute Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby the Heart Stealer.

During his trial, a court in Milan heard dozens of young women, including Miss El Mahroug, who was 17 at the time, were paid with cash and cars to attend his so-called "bunga bunga" parties and dance semi-naked for him.

At the time, his lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.