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Berlusconi faces quick appeal date

AFP-JIJI

Italy’s top court will meet on July 30 to debate a request by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to have a tax fraud conviction reviewed because some of the charges it relates to are due to expire.

The billionaire tycoon faces a final ruling in the case likely later this year after losing his first appeal in May, with the court sentencing him to one year in prison and a five-year ban from public office.

According to the Corriere della Sera daily, by the time the final ruling comes, some of the crimes could already have expired under a statute of limitations.

If confirmed and implemented, observers say this sentence would effectively put an end to Berlusconi’s colorful political career. He is, however, unlikely ever to be jailed since sentencing guidelines for people over 70 years old in Italy are very lenient. Legal experts, therefore, say he is likely to be sentenced to house arrest at most.