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Berlusconi jailed

Berlusconi jailed

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to a year in jail for tax evasion.

The media tycoon, who stepped down as PM amid the eurozone crisis in November last year, has also been banned from holding political office for five years.

Mr Berlusconi was originally sentenced to four years in prison but within hours his term was commuted to one year under an Italian law passed to ease jail overcrowding.

A Milan court delivered the verdict against Mr Berlusconi and 10 other defendants after a six-year fraud trial.

Prosecutors allege the defendants used offshore companies and falsely declared payments, as part of a scheme to purchase the rights to broadcast American films on Mr Berlusconi's television stations.

However the mogul - who announced two days ago that he would not run for prime minister in upcoming elections - is expected to appeal against the decision.

"It is a political, incredible and intolerable judgement," Mr Berlusconi told a TV station. "It is without any doubt a political verdict just as all the cases invented against me are political."

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