Connect to share and comment

Berlusconi's villas: house arrest in style

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Silvio Berlusconi's conviction for tax fraud has landed him with a 12-month prison sentence, which will be commuted to house arrest or community service because of lenient rules for over 70s in Italy.

The 76-year-old tycoon has said he does not want to do community service "like a common criminal" so is likely to be placed under house arrest.

Legal experts say he can choose which of his villas to stay in, and the request must be upheld by a court.

Here are the residences the billionaire may choose:

VILLA CERTOSA: This 120-hectare (297-acre) estate on the stunning Costa Smeralda in Sardinia boasts three villas and seven swimming pools. The park includes a Greek-style amphitheatre, a lake, thousands of cacti, palm trees and olive groves and a secret underwater cave decorated with a mosaic of the god of the sea, with a tunnel which leads to the sea. The media magnate had an artificial volcano built on a hill in the park which "erupts" with fireworks, lava effects and artificial earth tremors during parties hosted in the past for the likes of Vladimir Putin and Tony Blair.

VILLA SAN MARTINO: This former Benedictine monastery in Arcore, near Milan, is a sprawling estate with a tree-lined drive, enormous stables, a library with over 3,000 antique books and an art gallery. The 18th-century property, which reportedly has several swimming pools in the grounds, also boasts a 10-tonne Pharaoh-inspired marble mausoleum with thirty-six burial chambers, which Berlusconi built for his family and friends.

VILLA TORNO: Berlusconi bought this 30-room villa on Lake Como in northern Italy in 2012 for 21 million euros ($27 million), and is in the process of carrying out restoration works. According to Italian media reports, the media magnate used to love trekking in the area as a boy on short trips from Milan. The large park comes with four other villas, each with their own private access to the lake and terraces with views, a tennis court and bowling green. Famous neighbours in the wealthy area include George Clooney, who is renowned for holding loud lake-side parties.

PALAZZO GRAZIOLI: In the historic centre of Rome, this noble 16th century residence has hosted a serious of prestigious tenants, including a Spanish princess. Berlusconi has his own television studio in the palace from where he broadcasts messages to the nation. State rooms in the Baroque-style house are decorated with gold gilt and one luxurious bedroom reportedly has a large four-poster bed given to Berlusconi by Putin.

The former cruise ship crooner owns a host of other properties in Italy and abroad including on the tiny island of Lampedusa near Tunisia but there is no chance he will be allowed to serve out his house arrest anywhere but Italy, ruling out the estates he owns in Antigua and Bermuda.

ide/dt/dh

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130802/berlusconis-villas-house-arrest-style