European Court agrees to hear Berlusconi tax fraud appeal

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 19, 2014 1:55 PM

MILAN (Reuters) - The European Court of Human Rights has agreed to hear an appeal by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi against his conviction for tax fraud in August 2013, Berlusconi's lawyer said on Friday.

Piero Longo told Reuters that the Strasbourg-based court had agreed to examine Berlusconi's argument that he had been denied a fair trial in the case. But he said no date had been set for the appeal to begin.

The billionaire media tycoon was sentenced to four years imprisonment for masterminding a scheme of tax dodging by his Mediaset company, commuted to one year of community service in an old people's home, which he began serving in May this year.

As a result of his conviction Berlusconi lost his seat in the Senate and is barred from voting or standing for election.

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He remains the most influential figure on Italy's center-right, however, and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has closely involved him in efforts to reform the constitution despite misgivings among parts of his own center-left Democratic Party.

(Reporting by Sara Rossi, writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Hugh Lawson)