Silvio Berlusconi to learn fate in tax fraud case ‘at end of the month’

If the ‘Telfon Tycoon’ is found guilty, there will be no last-minute legal manoeuvres or statutes of limitation that can save him

Milan

The final day of reckoning for Silvio Berlusconi will come much sooner than anyone expected; the Supreme Court of Cassation has announced it is likely to make its definitive ruling on tax fraud charges against the tycoon by the end of this month.

If the court decides the former Italian premier is guilty, justice will finally have caught up with the ‘Telfon Tycoon’, and this time no last-minute legal manoeuvres or statutes of limitation can save him.

The original sentence handed to the 76-year-old in October – four years incarceration and a five-year ban on holding office for having dodged millions of euros in taxes by channelling huge sums from his broadcast empire into overseas slush funds – will kick in.

In response to the decision on Tuesday, centre-left pundits have been gleefully discussing the prospect of the billionaire being forced to start a period of community service by the end of the summer. Convicts over the age of 70 are rarely incarcerated due to Italian sentencing guidelines, meaning Mr Berlusconi would almost certainly avoid jail. But a year-long mix of community service and house arrest would be possible if the court upholds the guilty verdict. The Senate will be obliged to bar him from parliament and he will be labelled a criminal.

Mr Berlusconi’s supporters have claimed the unusual speed with which the supreme court would make its verdict is evidence of the judiciary’s bias against the three-time premier.

Mr Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) Party organised a one-day strike in parliament in protest at the Court’s decision to start hearings on 30 July. Given the slow progress of most appeals in Italy, news the judges would open the hearing this month took everyone by surprise. The verdict had been expected around November. Anna Maria Bernini, a senator and spokesperson for the PDL party, called the scheduling “simply incredible”? .

But the Cassation Court insisted the case had to be heard quickly to prevent at least one of the charges expiring in August under the statute of limitations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...

Recruitment Genius: Buyer

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Buyer is required to join thi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen