Italy’s high court has upheld prison charges for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi over a tax fraud case.
The court said it supported a lower court’s four-year prison sentence for 76-year-old Berlusconi.
Three years of that jail sentence are covered in an amnesty intended for cutting down on prison overcrowding, effectively decreasing Berlusconi’s sentence to one year.
The high court also decided to order the lower court to reconsider whether Berlusconi should be banned from public office, which is a controversial issue that could play a major role in the country’s future in politics.
A lower court sentenced Berlusconi of tax evasion last October, ordering him to four years in jail and barring him from public office for five years. In May, an Italian court in Milan upheld that verdict.
The former prime minister can’t appeal the high court’s verdict in the tax fraud case. However, it’s unlikely he’ll spend time behind bars, because of his age and the shortness of the sentence.
Berlusconi, who served on-and-off as prime minister between 1994 and 2011, is one of the most controversial people in the lively history of politics in Italy.For years, he has been involved in fraud cases, corruption, and sex scandals that have often reached Italian courts.