Berlusconi sentenced to 4 years for tax evasion
A court in Milan sentenced former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to four years imprisonment for tax evasion, dpa reported.
Berlusconi will not serve his sentence if he appeals against the first instance judgement.
The ruling came two days after the 76-year-old businessman and politician announced he would not run again for prime minister in elections due next year.
Prosecutor Fabio De Pasquale had pleaded for Berlusconi to be sentenced to three years and eight months.
Judges backed De Pasquale's charge that Berlusconi's media firm Mediaset had adopted a fraudulent accounting scheme to inflate the price paid for TV rights acquired from the United States via offshore companies.
This allowed Mediaset to evade 14 billion euros (18 billion dollars) over the years and finance a slush fund, according to the prosecutor.
Berlusconi was one of 11 defendants. One of them, Mediaset Chairman Fedele Confalonieri, was acquitted.