June 24, 2013
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Former Italian Prime Minister and AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has been convicted of soliciting a prostitute and faces a seven-year prison sentence.
From Sky News:
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been found guilty of paying for sex with an underage prostitute.
The 76-year-old was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from holding public office by a panel of three judges in Milan.
He previously denied having sex with Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby the Heart Stealer, after what prosecutors claimed were erotic "bunga bunga" parties at his Milan mansion in 2010.
According to the Sky News report, he was also found guilty of abusing his power as Prime Minister after he had El Mahroug released from police custody while under suspicion of theft.
According to the prosecution (via the BBC), Berlusconi paid El Mahroug €4.5 million between October and December of 2010.
Berlusconi has two opportunities to appeal and the sentence won't take effect until that process concludes, meaning he may not start serving his sentence for several years.
Also according to that report, Berlusconi is in the final appeals process for a tax fraud case in which he was sentenced to four years of prison time as well.
Via the BBC, prosecutors had been seeking a six-year sentence and lifetime ban from public office, so the prosecution will be pleased with this verdict.
As Berlusconi will likely not serve any time for quite some time given the lengthy appeal process, it's unlikely this verdict will have any effect on AC Milan, at least in the short term.
Still, it's another bit of poor publicity for the club in what has been a difficult season. The team sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain last summer in a cost-cutting move that didn't go over well with fans.
During the season, several players were the victims of racial abuse by opposing fans, including star Mario Balotelli. Kevin-Prince Boateng went so far as to walk off the field during a friendly against Pro Patria in retaliation to racist comments from the stands. His teammates joined him in walking off the pitch.
The team had a disappointing domestic and European campaign as well, finishing third in Serie A (15 points behind champions Juventus) and losing to Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16, despite winning 2-0 at home in the first leg.
The Berlusconi news is the cherry on top of what has been a very tumultuous season for the famous club.
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