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7 Mar, 2013 11:18

Berlusconi sentenced to 1 year behind bars in wiretap trial

Berlusconi sentenced to 1 year behind bars in wiretap trial

Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to one year in jail after a wiretap trial linked to a 2005 banking scandal.

The ex-premier is accused of violating secrecy laws after making public a police wiretap concerning his political rival in 2005. They were published in  Il Giornale,  a newspaper run by his brother, who was also sentenced to over two years and three months in prison. The leaks were about the attempted takeover of BNL bank by insurance giant Unipol.

Berlusconi denied any wrongdoing and may seek an appeal trial, until the end of which he won’t be put into custody.

On Wednesday, the court cleared the 76-year-old Berlusconi of accusations that his Mediatrade company, a part of the larger Mediaset group, purchased film and television rights at inflated prices to evade taxes, Reuters reported.

The former premier is also set to appear in court on March 18 on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute, and on March 23 in a separate broadcast rights trial.

In October last year, Berlusconi was sentenced to a year in jail after had been found guilty in another fraud case.

That conviction is currently subject to an appeal.

Under Italian law, people over 75 who are sentenced to less than two years don’t have to actually serve their term behind bars. Berlusconi is 76.