Berlusconi’s political fate in hands of high court

ROME (AP) — Silvio Berlusconi’s political fate is in the hands of Italy’s highest court, which is preparing to hear arguments in the former premier’s fraud conviction.

Berlusconi has been convicted of tax fraud in a complex TV rights transaction for his Mediaset network, and sentenced to four-years in prison with a five-year ban on public office. This is his final appeal.

The Court of Cassation on Tuesday hears arguments in the case and is expected to issue a decision later in the day or Wednesday.

Berlusconi has no official role in Italy’s uneasy coalition government, but remains influential and was key to the center-right’s close second-place finish in February elections. He has a seat in Italy’s Senate, which he would have to vacate if the lower courts’ verdicts are confirmed.

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