Silvio Berlusconi, former prime minister of Italy, was convicted on Thursday as a result of an illegal wiretap and was sentenced to one year in jail. Berlusconi, who asserts his innocence, appeals the sentence and will remain free for the time being. Currently, Berlusconi is also appealing his conviction in a tax fraud case for which he was sentenced to a year in jail last October. Berlusconi also faces charges for allegedly paying for sex with an underage prostitute.
In this case, Berlusconi was found guilty of a breach of confidentiality for the leak of a wiretapped call in a newspaper in 2005. The call was between a political opponent and a police officer, and it involved a bank takeover. Berlusconi’s brother, the publisher of the newspaper in question, received a sentence of 2 years and 3 months in jail after being convicted of the same offense. The newspaper, il Giornale, printed the transcript of the wiretapped communication. Berlusconi has said he expects convictions in his tax fraud appeal and prostitution case, citing judicial persecution that arises during pivotal times in Italy’s history. The former prime minister’s defense counsel and political friends has levied similar accusations. Angelino Alfano, the leader of the People of Freedom party, claims that the court’s decision is an effort to marginalize Berlusconi through judicial action.