An Italian court sentenced former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday to one year in jail for the publication of the transcript of a leaked wiretap connected to a banking scandal in 2006.
Under Italian law, the 76-year-old media billionaire will not have to serve any jail time until the appeals process has been exhausted. However, judicial sources said the charges will expire in mid-September, before an appeal trial can be completed, because of the statute of limitations. So it is unlikely that Mr. Berlusconi will serve time in jail.
The verdict came during a political impasse arising from last week’s election, which left no party able to form a government on its own – although Mr. Berlusconi’s centre-right party emerged as the second strongest in Parliament.
Following Thursday’s verdict, he said the decision showed that politically motivated judges were conducting a campaign against him. “It is impossible to tolerate judicial persecution of this kind, which has been going on for 20 years and which re-emerges every time there are politically complex moments in the political life of our country,” he said in a statement.