Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered Tuesday to spend at least four hours a week for the next year doing community service at a center for the elderly, NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast Desk.
As she says, the ruling comes more than eight months after Berlusconi was convicted “for masterminding a complex tax fraud at his TV network.” While Berlusconi was given a four-year prison sentence, that was later commuted to one-year and then to either home arrest or community service.
Italy’s ANSA news service says it has been told by “sources close to the 77-year-old billionaire that he would be assigned to a center run by the Fondazione Sacra Famiglia Catholic foundation at Cesano Boscone, near Milan.” Agence France-Presse says that’s a “church-run center for disabled and elderly people with 2,000 patients.”
In addition to the community service, Berlusconi can’t travel freely for the next year, Sylvia reports. He can leave Italy’s Lombardy region only “for restricted trips to Rome from Tuesdays to Thursdays,” she says. That could limit his ability to campaign for his Forza Italia party before next month’s European Parliament elections.
The tax fraud case is by no means Berlusconi’s only legal challenge. As the BBC reminds readers:
“Last year he was convicted of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his powers, which brought him a lifetime ban from public office. He was expelled from the Italian Senate.
“He is appealing against the underage sex conviction, in a trial known as the ‘Ruby’ case.
“He is also on trial for allegedly bribing a center-left senator to switch sides.”
Berlusconi has been stripped of his seat in the Italian senate.