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Silvio Berlusconi is a three-time prime minister of Italy whose career has been marked by sexual indiscretion, political scandals and multiple trials.
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However, Berlusconi has been convicted multiple times. In October 2012, Berlusconi was sentenced to four years for tax fraud. And in June 2013, Berlusconi was sentenced to seven years for paying an underage woman, Karima "Ruby" el Mahroug, for sex. El Mahrough was 17 when she attended several of Berlusconi's "bunga bunga" parties in 2010. Berlusconi was also convicted of abusing the power of his office (while prime minister,
Berlusconi tried to get el Mahrough out of jail by telling police that she was related to Egypt's Hosni Mubarak). Along with this conviction, Berlusconi was barred from public office.
Berlusconi has never admitted to any wrongdoing—he and his supporters feel he is being persecuted by the left—and he continues to fight all of his convictions. Berlusconi will not have to serve a sentence, or step down from public office, during the appeals process. Even if a conviction is upheld, Berlusconi's age makes him eligible for house arrest, so it is unlikely he will ever go to jail.
With his broadcast success and long political career, Berlusconi has changed the worlds of media and politics in Italy. His wealth—in 2013, Forbes magazine estimated Berlusconi and his family's fortune at $6.2 billion—and influence mean he is still a powerful leader. He is also a key political partner in Italy's current coalition government. Despite his multiple scandals, Berlusconi seems poised to continue making his mark on Italy.
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