Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to four years in jail for tax evasion following an investigation into the affairs of his media conglomerate.
A court in Milan heard that the 76-year-old and 10 others had inflated the price of American film distribution rights bought by shell companies owned by Mediaset broadcasting.
Berlusconi has also been banned for holding office for three years. His lawyers called the verdict “absolutely incredible.”
The ruling comes two days after he announced he would not run for the job of prime minister again.
Berlusconi is expected to appeal. He has the right to appeal the ruling two more times before the sentence becomes definitive and will not be jailed unless the final appeal is upheld.
A separate trial over accusations that Berlusconi paid for sex with an underaged prostitute is currently being heard in Milan. He denies all charges against him.