Italy's Silvio Berlusconi gets two-year office ban

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A MILAN court on Saturday ruled that former Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi should be barred from holding public office for two years following a conviction for tax fraud.But, since Berlusconi is a senator, the court’s decision will have no immediate effect and his expulsion from the Senate will depend on a separate vote in the upper house of parliament, expected to take place next month.Saturday’s ruling reflected the prosecution’s request for a two-year ban.Berlusconi’s lawyers, who can appeal to the Supreme Court, had asked for a one-year ban, the minimum under the law that was being applied in the Milan case. The maximum would have been three years.Italy’s Supreme Court on Aug. 1 definitively upheld a tax fraud conviction against the centre-right leader, rejecting his final appeal against an earlier four-year jail sentence.The four-year sentence was commuted to one year, and, if the Senate expels him, Berlusconi will spend the year either under house arrest or in community service.In the Aug. 1 ruling, the Supreme Court confirmed the conviction but ordered a further judicial review of a ban on holding public office imposed for the same offence.The upper house’s vote next month will effectively …

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