25 October 2012

ITALY : 27 Oct UPDATE: Berlusconi Sentenced To Prison For Tax Fraud; Silvio Steps Aside For Spring Elections; The New Political Faces Of 2013.


    Ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi...has been sentenced for tax fraud...and barred from serving in public office for 5 years...by a Milano court.
    The court at first handed down a 4-year sentence for the crime involving his media empire and price rigging...but reduced it to one year.
    It also ordered him and his co-defendants to pay 10 million euros.
    He was not in court but his lawyers plan an appeal...and he will remain free.
    Sage observers say he is unlikely to serve any time...because a statute of limitations ends next year...an appeals drag on for years in Italy.
    Silvio is still embroiled in 3 more trials...including sex with a minor...and abuse of office. 
        TO WATCH : 1:35 Video Report With Reactions:
     NEW LINK!!! Perhaps tipped off by his lawyers about his upcoming fraud conviction...slippery Silvio suddenly announced...non questa volta/not this time...to running for PM in his party's Spring elections...after months of toying with a decision.
     'He jumped...before he was pushed.'
      But the 3 term billionaire Premier still indicates he has not left politics.
     “I still have good muscles, a bit of a head, and my role is to give advice, offer memory, stories and judgments without being intrusive,” Berlusconi, 76 said.
      Yet...many doubt his word to refrain from running again.    
    “For now, that is just one of the many Berlusconi announcements to which he has accustomed Italians,” said former ally Italo Bocchio. 
     “We’ll see in a short time if it is something concrete, or only a propagandistic discovery.”

     AND: ANALYSIS: Who will be the new faces...and powers in Italy in 2013?  
    Bombastic comic Beppe Grillo...incumbent technocrat 'Super Mario' Monti...young Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi...or gay communist Nichi Vendola?