AC Milan owner and honorary president Silvio Berlusconi was expelled from Parliament by the Italian Senate due to a conviction for tax fraud.
The Associated Press passed along the breaking news:
BREAKING: Italy Senate expels 3-time ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi after tax fraud conviction— The Associated Press (@AP) November 27, 2013
Berlusconi, who Forbes estimates has a net worth of more than $6 billion, took over ownership of the storied club in 1986, using his wealth to revitalize the Rossoneri. The former Italian prime minister influence has helped them to remain one of the top clubs in Europe.
A report from Reuters before the expulsion vote stated Berlusconi's jail sentence, which was set at fours years, was commuted. Instead, he's likely to spend one year performing community service:
The court sentenced him to four years in jail, commuted to a year likely to be spent performing community service. He was also banned from holding public office for two years, preventing any immediate return to government.
That said, the AC Milan owner remained defiant before the procedural vote and isn't likely to leave the Italian spotlight:
"We are here on a bitter day, a day of mourning for democracy," Berlusconi told several thousand supporters from his Forza Italia party in front of his residence in central Rome as the Senate voted only a few hundred yards away.
Berlusconi has been a major player in Italian politics during his time leading the Serie A club. How these latest events, the tax-fraud conviction and his removal from Parliament, could impact the Rossoneri remains unclear.
At the very least, it causes an image problem for a club to have an owner going through such public turmoil. Beyond that, though, the entire situation seems more like a personal problem Berlusconi will work through rather than something that will damage the club.
The latest twist in the owner's saga comes one day after Milan scored an important Champions League victory over Celtic. The result means they will head into the final match of group play in control of their own destiny.
All the players can do is make sure the Berlusconi drama doesn't disrupt their focus on the tasks at hand.