Silvio Berlusconi Ousted From Italian Senate in Wake of Tax-Fraud Conviction

Mediaset tax-fraud scandal was the final blow to the former Premier’s legislative career

The Italian Senate has expelled media tycoon and three-time ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi in the wake of his tax fraud conviction, the Associated Press reports.

Berlusconi, who started a small cable TV company in the 1970s and went on to become the controlling shareholder in the country’s dominant broadcaster Mediaset, was convicted for tax fraud in connection with a series of film acquisition deals for the media giant.

The political body’s Wednesday vote halted the 77-year-old Berlusconi’s six-year legislative run. He remained defiant Wednesday — as did his millions of supporters, thousands of whom showed up outside his Roman palazzo to cheer and wave flags ahead of the vote.

Berlusconi may have lost his office, but his political influence will live on with the Forza Italia party he recently re-launched.

Berlusconi was found guilty and sentenced to four years in jail last October for creating a slush fund with money used to buy U.S. film rights, which then, in turn, allowed Mediaset to pay lower taxes; the conviction was upheld in August by the Italian Supreme Court.