Rubygate: Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to seven years in jail and banned from public office
Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has been found guilty of having intimate relationship with underage Karima El Mahroug, and abusing the power of his office.
Silvio Berlusconi, 76, has been sentenced to seven years in jail and banned from public office, pending the outcome of an appeal.
The former prime minister and media tycoon had denied all the allegations against him.
In this latest court ruling, he was found guilty of paying for intimate relationship with a Moroccan girl, Karima El Mahroug, known as “Ruby the Heart Stealer”, who was just 17 at the time.
The judgement could have major political repercussions for Italy, analysts say.
They say a guilty ruling could weaken current PM Enrico Letta’s coalition government, which depends on the support of Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right party, People of Freedom (PdL).
But Silvio Berlusconi will not have to spend any time in jail unless a lengthy appeals process is exhausted.
Silvio Berlusconi is already embroiled in several other court cases and was given a four-year sentence for tax fraud in October 2012.