Europe

Berlusconi begins community service for tax fraud

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Former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has begun a year of community service at a care home over a conviction for tax fraud.

Berlusconi started on Friday to work four hours a week as a volunteer at a center for Alzheimer’s patients at the Sacra Famiglia center near Milan.

The Catholic Church-run hospice says the former Italian premier will be treated just like any other assistant and that his introduction at the center would be “gradual.”

“It will be small steps so as not to make any mistakes. And then he could do all sorts of things,” said Massimo Restelli, head of the hospice’s care services.

Last August, the 77-year-old tycoon was found guilty of organizing a complex system of tax evasion, making it the first definitive conviction against him after dozens of trials in almost 20 years of political career.

Berlusconi was expelled from the Italian parliament in November 2013 over his conviction for tax fraud, and sentenced to four years in jail. Later, his jail term was commuted to one year by a general amnesty.

The scandal-tainted leader was also banned from holding public positions for two years.

The former prime minister is currently appealing against other convictions, including abuse of office and leaking a confidential police wiretap to damage a political rival.

Furthermore, Berlusconi is under investigation for bribing a senator to join his centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) party.

Berlusconi, who served as Italy’s prime minister from 1994 to 2011, resigned in November 2011, after coming under fire for mishandling the Italian economy.

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