Former Italian PM Berlusconi convicted in bribery trial

Silvio Berlusconi, Italian ex-PM, found guilty of bribing senator in 2006

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (78) has been found guilty on Wednesday by a Naples court and sentenced to three years imprisonment for bribing a senator in an attempt to topple the then coalition government.

The former PM who served four terms was accused of giving 3 million euros to Senator Sergio De Gregorio in 2006, who was from the Italy of Values party (Italia dei Valori).

Berlusconi, however denied the charges, and was banned from holding public office for five years.

The Italy of Values party is known for its anti-corruption and populist stance.

Berlusconi bribed De Gregorio to switch to his People of Freedom party, in an attempt to destabilise the then centre-left government.

De Gregorio was paid the amount via an intermediary to persuade him to abandon the then premier Romano Prodi.

The extremely wealthy former PM was found guilty of tax evasion last year.

He will not serve any time in prison, however, because of legal technicalities, according to his lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini. The verdict was “unjust and unjustified,” he added.

Berlusconi is also appealing against charges for other crimes, such as leaking a confidential police wiretap.

TRTWorld and agencies